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I Am My Father's Son
They were gambling in front of the house. Manservants and pages bustled about Serving Suitors who just curse and carouse. Few mix wine with water. I heard one shout, "Clean down the tables with wet sponges! Rouse Yourselves! And when you've done that lay them out Again!" Some others carve mountains of meat. I’m almost ready to admit defeat. Then I thought I glimpsed Athena (disguised As a man) long before the others did. Sat among the Suitors I’ve long despised, I daydreamed of how my father would rid This house of these hopefuls. I was surprised At the images - horrible, vivid - The Suitors’ bloody bodies heaped chest-high Slaughtered by the king they’d sought to defy. As I sat brooding, I spied a stranger At the gate, and went straight to greet him there. Great Athena's stratagem to change her Appearance at first kept me unaware Of her divinity. For, the danger Of my being overawed was unfair. Faced with a mortal, I could be at ease And act without feeling I had to please. I said, “Welcome. You won’t believe how glad I am to see you. Come drink, eat, and tell Me the reason you’ve come - good or bad. Please, sit close by me so I’ll hear you well. My mother's Suitors upset me, I'm sad To say, loud and insolent. Drunk, they'll yell, Shout, and tell bawdy jokes. Just ignore it. For decent company, they are unfit.” At that moment, the great door opened wide And the noise of feasting and merriment Grew louder and reverberated inside. Four of my mother’s Suitors hellbent On having a good time sat down beside Me and the stranger. It was evident They’d drunk far too much from their boorish ways, Rough, tipsy voices, and their glassy gaze. One, Antinous, said, “What’s this? No music Dancing or singing? Where is Phemius, The minstrel? Tell him to play or I'll kick His backside! Tell him, I, Lord Antinous, Wants everyone to hear how artistic He is with a sweet song harmonious And pleasing. Get to it, Telemachus, Get him to sing. Don’t look so serious!” I nudged the stranger to edge down the bench To get away from these aggressive drunks And avoid breathing in the fetid stench Of their sour wine-soaked breath. Their beards had chunks Of vomit on them as they tried to quench Their insatiable thirst for wine. Each dunks His face in food bowls like pigs at a trough Gorging so fast that they splutter and cough. I whispered to the stranger, “What I say Is, though I don’t mind a little excess And feasting's cheap when you don't have to pay, There, in some dark uncharted wilderness May lie the bleaching bones - or perhaps they Grind to powder in the surf relentless - Of my father, Odysseus, long gone, Whose wealth these greedy vultures feed upon.” Another brute, Eurymachus, stood up. He staggered unsteadily on his feet. Swaying to and fro, wine spilled from his cup. Eyes bleary, face white as a laundered sheet, He bared his backside, wagged it like a pup, And farted. “I thought I’d give you a treat!” He said, in generous mood, his speech slurred Staring down at his friends with vision blurred. Lord Antinous giggled. “You are unfit To grace this respectable, noble place. That stink would curdle goats’ milk! I admit You’re daring in baring your bum. Replace Your face with your bum – there’s more hair on it! The barefaced cheek you show is a disgrace! I suggest you sit on your best feature You ill-mannered, uncouth, ugly creature.” Eurymachus retorted, “You're no Greek god Yourself, Antinous! Fair Penelope Will choose me over you - you drunken sod! And, I can say, without hyperbole, She'll be transfixed by the size of my rod When I hook her! What a catastrophe For her if she handles your tiny worm - She’ll not even notice it twist and squirm!” They guffawed and shouted, “More food, more drink! Bring more bread - and more meat - and much more wine - Lots - if you don't want us to cause a stink! Bring on the dancing girls! We need some fine Young maidens to be sent to us. Just think What we can do with those girls, boys! We'll line Them up take our pick, kiss them quick and grope!” To the stranger I said, “I’ve lost all hope. These brutes, sir, would pray for much longer legs - For no amount of pleading would save them If my father came back. They'll drain the dregs Of the last of the wine, spit out their phlegm, And belch foul breath smelling of rotten eggs, I fear, before then. We will never stem Rumours of his homecoming. But he's dead. Now, sir, tell me about yourself instead.” He replied, “I’m your father’s friend, Mentes, On a voyage, here with my ship and crew. Our fathers - your grandfather, Laertes, And mine, were good friends, as he will tell you. I came here because I've been told that he's Home - your father, Odysseus. Not true It seems. I know for sure he isn't dead. But he’s not on the mainland, that's what's said. Therefore, it’s more likely he's held captive. Strange thing - there is a voice inside my brain - So strong I know it's authoritative - That tells me he will soon be home again. Your father is clever and adaptive. Thus, even though he's bound with iron chain, He'll find some means of getting back home here. You are his son? I see the likeness clear.” Mother says I’m Odysseus's son, But it's a wise child that knows his father. I would prefer to be the son of one Who'd grown old upon his own land - rather Than of that unluckiest of men - none Disputes - King Odysseus. I gather My father's doomed to die captive or roam The seas. Either way, he'll never get home. When my father was here, life went on well. Now, we don't know if he's dead or living. It would be far better if they would tell Us that he'd died in battle. In giving Such news, they'd allow us to break the spell He's cast over us, and start forgiving Those who killed him. Then, I could build a mound To his memory and our line renowned. But now he's gone without a single trace. I inherit nothing but sad dismay, And it doesn't end with my grief, the race To marry my mother is on. Each day They eat me out of house and home. We face Ruin by them while they pretend to pay Court to my mother who cannot decide Whether she will or not become their bride. I’ll call a state assembly tomorrow. Lay my case before them, and ask the gods To help me. More in anger than sorrow, Bid the Suitors depart. Reduce the odds Ranged against me. Let my dear mother go Back to her father. If her nature prods Her to wed then he can give her away. I’ll search for my father that very day. Alexander Blackie

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Categories: spoken word, adventure,anger,anxiety,bullying,father,history,introspection,
Form: Dramatic Monologue

Premium Member Missed By a Mile
Having been avid antiques collectors for nearly 4 decades, my wife and I met our share of rascals like this sneaky dealer - 

Damp and chilly winds were blowing, leaves would paint the ground,
As me and Connie rummaged through the treasures all around. 

The antiques dealers strew their loads of old, assorted stash,
As we would search for bits of “gold” among the piles of trash.

“Every booth has something good,” we always told ourselves.
Those little things discovered by the early bird that delves

Deep into the boxes, and beneath the tabled wares,
That make the searcher wealthy with a fruit it seldom bears.

Long before the sun would rise the cars were flocking in.
(First in line was something that we still have never been.)

Some would quickly make their way to special spots they knew.
The thermos-toting scavengers would madly dart and spew

Left and right, discourteously, no selfishness was spared.
And if you needed time to think, you found that no one cared.

A buyer yelled, “How much for this?” The owner snapped a price.
The asker offered less than half…there was no time for “nice.”

“Sorry, pal…I know I’ve got more in the piece than that,
And I ain’t got the time to stand around with you and chat.”

Marked at forty-five, the man had offered twenty bucks.
The dealers just kept dragging ancient goods from off their trucks.

After they’d ignored him for a couple minutes more,
The tattered looking beggar grumbled, “OK…twenty-four.”

“Not today,” the man would say, he sounded quite upset.
“We paid a lot for that, my friend…they’re really hard to get.”

“OK, then I’ll go thirty. That’s as high as I can go,”
Whined the little weasel. But the dealer bellowed, “No!”

“Well…what’s the best that you can do?” the man would ask and wait.
“I suppose…for cash…I’d let it go for thirty eight.”

“Thirty eight,” the man would scream, “this thing ain’t made of gold.”
By now the way the man was lipping off was getting old.

“Now listen, mack,” the dealer snapped, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
We can split the difference, if that’s good enough for you.

“Thirty four is it…and that’s for cash, or take a hike.”
(We’d never seen a buyer more impossible to like.)

“Come on, man,” he begged again, “give a guy a break.”
“Sorry,” he replied, “but that’s the least that I can take.”

“All I’ve got is thirty-two. That’s every cent I’ve got,”
He whined again then added smugly, “I think that’s a lot.

“How about it, mister…will you take the thirty-two?
I cross my heart and swear to God, I’d do the same for you.”

Standing there and listening to this begging little creep,
Beating on the dealer…as he worked to buy it cheap…

Me and Connie thought he was the very biggest jerk 
We’d ever seen, he was the king of “wheeler-dealer” work.

After all the squabbling, he would finally get his prize.
We clearly saw the great disgust within the dealer’s eyes.

The man absconded quickly with his loot into the crowd,
And as we left, we heard the angry dealer say out loud,

“I never thought I’d take a loss,” he’d tell a passerby,
“Just to make a person go away. I hate that guy! 

“He always shows up early with his whiny begging ways.
But I suppose the little bum has seen his better days.

“He always gets a piece from us for ten cents on the buck
By bugging us while we are busy clearing out the truck.

“The tattered clothes are probably just a ploy to get a deal,
An’ five ‘ll get you ten that…‘all I’ve got’ line…isn’t real.”

Con and I would walk away surprised, but not amused.
The hard-to-stomach method that the weasely guy had used

Made the dealers angry, but it got the creep a “steal,”
And we were both disgusted with the way it made us feel.


Later on that morning - in a booth a mile away -
We would learn the truth about the games that people play.

There…all clean and pretty…stood the man from early morn.
Gone were all the dirty, ragged clothes that he had worn.

Strutting like a peacock, with his face aglow with pride,
He paced behind the tables he was standing just inside.

Yup…he was a dealer! And his goods were very nice.
Con and I at once began to search to learn the price

He’d put upon the piece that we had watched him buy at dawn.
The man had twenty teeming tables spread across the lawn.

Connie found it shortly, in a tiny little case.
I knew the price would shock me by the look upon her face. 

I was right. The former cheap, disgusting little worm
Had priced that very piece he’d bought at ninety dollars…firm!

We could not resist the chance to dicker with this guy.
We waved him over. “Sir,” I said…“we would like to buy

“That piece there.   The one that’s marked at ninety dollars firm.
We watched one like it sell at dawn.” (The guy began to squirm.)

“Well, I just bought that piece today. Some nasty little man 
Showed up early, sold it to me, and then…off he ran.

“I had to pay a ton for that. I’m only making five.”
(We knew that we’d just met the biggest pile of bull alive.)

First he beats the struggling dealer down he got it from…
Then the price he asks is nearly triple. What a scum.

And though we’re not inclined to play that stupid kind of game,
We only wished the guy he’d bought it from had done the same.

So now, when we’re out hunting, at an antique mall or show,
We feel we’ve a learned a little more than most antiquers know,

And when the dealers tell us what they paid, we simply smile,
And think about the “better deal” we once - missed by a mile!

PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal) There are a bunch of my pieces on YouTube as well ---


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Categories: spoken word, humor,
Form: Narrative
Premium Member Old Man Crabb - Both Audio and Text
Sixty some odd years ago, when I was just a kid, our home was on the very edge of town.
The man that lived next door to us - a Mr. - O. M. Crabb - for years would wear the – “mean an' ornery” crown. 

If anyone in Pinkerton had cause to really hate him, and felt - at first - the guy was hard to like -
It was me, ‘cause…havin’ left it sitting in his driveway…backin’ out one day - he crushed my trike!

Well…quite a crowd showed up today to tell the man goodbye. Most of them were older folks, like me
Who understood that those who felt that Orville was a miser, without a doubt were as wrong as they could be.

So…later, at the diner - when some youngster made this comment: 
“Bet ya’ half the town is glad he’s dead!”
I commenced to settin’ him - an’ all his buddies - straight…
an’ this here’s pretty close to what I said:

“All you young’ns figure that the crown was his to wear because you’ve never seen him laugh or smile,
But each of you’ve, unwittingly, condemned him in your minds without so much as giving him a trial.

“Each of you’ve convicted him on nothing more than hearsay, and joined the fools that called him, ‘Old Man Crabb’.
But I have known the truth about the man since I was ten - when I observed him picking up a tab

“For Henrietta Pendleton - to buy her children clothes…she’d lost her husband, Clete, in ‘42.
Orville Crabb was always helpin’ folks to make ends meet…..which ain’t the sort o’ thing that misers do.

“Fact is, most the older folks in town are sad as hell. They know some things you younger folks don’t know.
Like…way back in the 20s - as the men returned from war - he’d look for those that had no row to hoe 

“And offer them positions at the fact’ry, or the cannery…..businesses he started - just for them!
Today those peoples’ grandkids…unaware their want for nothing is due almost exclusively to him...

“Tear the guy to pieces with their jokes and nasty comments, painting him a cold and selfish man. 
But if you’d care to listen to me prove it isn’t true…with much of what I know…
I’m sure I can.

“An only child, he helped his father work their tiny farm, which came to him the day his father died. 
He worked the place alone at first then - not far down the road - met the gal that soon became his bride.

“Anna Mae and Orville cleared another twenty acres, and when his neighbors - north and south - retired,
Orville wisely bought their farms…and why so many loved him stems from just a few of those he hired!

“Some o’ these are tidbits that I overheard at Snippy’s., an’, when it comes to Pinkerton, I swear,
Pret’ near every big event gets tossed around a while whenever them old farts ‘re cuttin’ hair!

“Snippy’s been around since quite a while ‘for I was born, an’ now and then, while waitin’ for a chair,
Somethin’ Orville did - when we were kids - ‘ll get discussed.  Happens almost every time I’m there. 

“Like, Billy Burke - who’d planned to one day run his daddy’s place, but lost an arm while fightin’ overseas.
Orville paid to put him through some auto schools - in Dayton…bought the lot just south o’ Norma Lee’s…

“Built a brand new fillin’ station,   named it, “Burke’s Garage”,  and after redesigning half the tools 
Billy’d need to do the work he’d always wanted to    and well prepared by what he’d learned in schools…

“When his dad retired the place was handed down to Bill…and Burke’s Garage is still the best in town
At everything from fixin’ tires to overhaulin’ engines…and you’ll never find a Burke who’ll run him down!

“A bunch o’ kids in Pinkerton - most of them my age - were left with only mothers - from the war.
Those mothers were the very ones the child-care place on Brady, built - young man - by ‘Orville Crabb’ - was for!

“Eddy Joe Devine returned with half his groin destroyed…a wound that very nearly took his life.
A nurse he’d met in England - while recovering - took his ring…and - ’til he passed, she nursed him, as his wife! 

“But, wanting children desperately but now no longer able to, and knowing of his brush with death in France,
Orville figured - caring for a bunch of kids would help….and let them run the orphanage for the chance. 

“I forgave him years ago for boogerin’ up my trike.    (I can’t believe I actually left it there!)
Besides….he made it up to me.   Ya’ see - ‘bout ten years back…Orville went an’ bought me this here chair!

“I’d been lookin’ around for one ‘cause both my knees are shot…but couldn’t afford to buy one on my own,
When Orville came an’ got me - wrote a check to make it mine - and told me, “Truman… this is not a loan!”   

“She’ll go darn close to 15 miles before she needs a charge!    It ain’t the finest one I’ve ever seen…
But it was FREE…no strings attached…so you boys watch your mouths, an’ don’t be tellin’ people he was mean.

“Back when he was younger he was everybody’s buddy, workin’ side by side with Anna Mae.
Always helpin’ needy townfolk, right up ‘til the end, when Anna had a stroke and passed away.

“That was when he changed a bit - but that’s to be expected - and, if he rarely smiled, the reason why
Is…just like anybody else…his heart was broke in two…the way a heart ‘ll do when loved ones die. 

“No sir….you’d be quite surprised to learn how many fam’lies say he was the finest friend they had.
Oh…I can see how folks your age aren’t sad to see him go…but truth is - he was simply terribly sad.

“Mean?    No way!    That man did more than anyone I know to minimize the pain in peoples’ lives. 
But - just like me - he got depressed…the way that most men do when a battle lost to illness takes their wives. 

“Best you learn the facts about a man before you judge ‘im…    
you’re far too ‘unaware’ to be a fan…
But, take my word…there ain’t no mean or nasty words that fit him….
and I have never known a finer man.

PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs @ 4 1/2 hours each , listed on EBAY (“Mark Stellinga Poetry”) - or available by simply contacting me. (We use safe and simple - PayPal)


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Categories: spoken word, inspirational,
Form: Narrative
Premium Member Reveren' Carlton Whitney - Both Audio and Text
Reveren’ Carlton Whitney was the pastor of our church, and someone I looked up to as a child. 
Six foot six, with piercing eyes, a booming voice, and yet…his disposition, thankfully - was mild.

The very oldest incident that I can recollect - in which I felt the power this man had -
Guides me to this very day…and actually makes me wish that someone more like him had been my dad.

He caught me skippin’ school one day by burstin’ in to “Bernie’s,” where me an’ old man Moss was shootin’ pool. 
He moved across the floor to where I stood with cue in hand, and calmly asked me…“Why aren’t you in school?”

Really stunned to see him in a raunchy place like Bernie’s, I knew he must have swallowed half his pride, 
But even though I liked him…and I knew he’d only come to help me if he somehow could…I lied!

Half a dozen years from bein’ old enough to be there…(see - Bernie didn’t care how old folks was)… 
An’ full aware I didn’t really have a leg to stand on…I done what almost every youngster does

Pretty close to every time he winds up caught red handed. I exercised a skill, which, as a youth,
Saved my butt I’ll bet at least a dozen times a month  --  I sort-a -- kind-a – 
slightly stretched the truth!

“Mrs. Pritchard sent me home,” I fibbed, “‘bout nine o’clock, fer fightin’ with a kid that I don’t like. 
I only came to “Bernie’s Bar” to try an’ win some money to make another payment on my bike.”

Well, big ol’ reveren’ Whitney wasn’t bitin’ like my ma would…and bein’ easily twice as smart as Pa… 
He laid his big ol’ hand upon my shoulder…stared me down…and with the kindest eyes I ever saw…

Told me, “Ezra Bingham…you ain’t old enough to be here, an’ I know you ain’t fool enough to boot.
All you’re gonna ‘win’ is trouble…hangin’ out in pool halls…course, Bernie, we all know, don’t give a hoot.

“But I come in here special, ‘cause I seen ya’ through the window, and you an’ me is leavin’ Bernie’s - now!” 
He walked me home, and never said a word to Ma an’ Pa, but, ‘fore he left, he actually made me vow

To never tell another lie…and from that very day, I’ve not so much as stretched the truth at all.
Carlton turned my life around, and saved my soul that mornin'…and here’s a few more “savin’s” I recall:

‘Member Leonard Duffy’s cabin - out on Shelby Road - come close to burnin’ down ten years ago?
Well…Carlton run to help him…‘spite he’d never been to preachin’, and weren’t the kind o’ man that’s nice to know…

An’after sayin’ a prayer fer rain - despite the skies were clear - it poured like hell…which helped to douse the fire! 
An’ if I told you Leonard…from that very day ‘til now…has missed a sermon since…I’d be a liar!

An’ then there’s Dexter Pinkerton, who’d missed a couple payments, and banker Bell had jumped ‘im ‘bout his note, 
So Carlton sent around a special plate to help young Dexter catch up on his debt with that old goat!

An’ then there was the time when widow Horton broke her hip, an’ had no hired hand to man the plough. 
Carlton done the plantin’ for her -- didn’t charge her nothin’ -- an’ also fetched her eggs an’ milked her cow!

Funny how one man can touch as many lives as he has - and turn them for the better every time -
Yet never once - the way I’ve heard it, did that kind old preacher - give less than he could…or take a dime.

So me an’ Dexter - we done told a bunch o’ long-time town folk to meet us at the diner Friday night. 
(Funny thing is - Dexter is the one I claimed the teacher’d sent me home for whoopin’ - in a fight!)

Truth is, we been best o’ friends since we was little kids, an’ both of us have Carlton’s help to thank. 
Me…for how he made me vow to never lie again…and Dexter - for that payment to the bank!

Everyone we called showed up, plus everyone they called.  The crowd was actually filled the square!                                                                                                   For more than sixty years this man had done the best he could to prove to folks how much a man can care.

Standing on the stage where - now and then - our band would play, I raised my hands to quiet down the crowd, 
And when the noise had tapered off to where I knew they’d hear me, I glanced around and hollered good and loud,

“Me an’ Dexter called you here to ask for your opinions on raisin’ funds to have somebody cast
A statue of the reveren’. It could be a little pricey, but we was thinkin’…somethin’ that would last

“Ought to be erected in the center of the square, to honor Carlton…for the man he was… 
An’ nothin’ else I know of can commemorate a person better than a big, ol’ statue does.

“We was thinkin’ maybe we could pass around a hat so anyone who feels like pitchin’ in
Can sort o’ - pay the reveren’ back - by helpin’ foot the bill…an’ as for me…
I’m pitchin’ in a ten!

Wasn’t twenty minutes later, thirty hats come in…an’ each o’ ‘em was packed with checks and bills. 
“Thank ya’, folks,” I proudly shouted…“this ‘ll surely build a monument of bronze - with all the frills.

“We’ll dress him in his preachin’ clothes, an’ make him ten feet tall, an’ right there - in the center’s - where he’ll stand. 
One hand reaching out to help…his other arm up high, with, naturally…a bible in that hand.

We’ll whip up somethin’ special for the plaque, ‘cause, sure enough…there’ll never be a man like him again. 
We need to let the whole world know that reverend Carlton Whitney was Paxton county’s most important man.”

And that, young man’s, the story that I promised you I’d tell ya’ explaining why that statue’s in the square. 
And, son…it really warms my heart to know so many people helped to raise the funds to put him there!

PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces) available. They’re on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by contacting me at -- -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal)


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Categories: spoken word, character,uplifting,
Form: Narrative
Premium Member Thelma Lou - Both Audio and Text
The biggest funeral I've ever attended...

Thelma was a waitress at the diner on the corner of 4th and Oak, across from Ron’s DX, in Abilene.
They had an old brass register that rang when it was opened, which I believed to be the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

She wore without a doubt the brightest lipstick ever made. Her hair was just about as red…and always tightly curled.
Mom and Dad would take me there on really big occasions…they had the greatest root beer floats and french-fries in the world.

Once…when I was eight years old…the three of us were eating, when everybody turned - the way they do - to check the door. 
A young girl, with a baby and her husband, quietly entered. They glanced around to find a seat…then moved across the floor.

Sitting down not far from us, I heard the young man say, “We’ve only got enough to buy one meal. We’ll have to share.”
I was just a bit confused to see how they were smiling, when Mom leaned down and whispered, “’s not polite to stare.”

Even though I looked the other way, I still could hear them, “We need to get some milk to feed the baby, right away.” 
I kept peeking back at them. It made me kind of sad to know they’d have to share a meal because they couldn’t pay.

That’s when good old Thelma waddled up to take their order. Perhaps a tad bit heavy, but she had a lovely smile. 
People always said that, “Nothing ever gets past Thelma,” so it was no surprise that she’d been listening all the while.

“Do you need a minute, folks…or would you like to order?” she asked them, as she stood there, with her pencil and her pad. 
“We’ll just share some scrambled eggs and ham,” the young boy said. “And can we get a little glass of milk?” the girl would add.

“You sure can. I’ll be right back,” she said, and then departed. The frail, young girl reached out and took her husband’s waiting hand. 
Both of them - still smiling - as I watched her hold it gently…caressing, very tenderly…his shiny wedding band.

By the way he gazed at her, why…anyone could tell that he’d have done most anything to prove how much he cared.                                                                                                  Even as an eight-year old…I knew this struggling couple couldn’t have loved each other more had they been millionaires.                                                                    

Then, at last, the call rang out from somewhere in the kitchen. The old, familiar voice said, “Thelma Lou, your order’s up.”                                                                                  She was chatting softly with some lady at the counter…both of them were chuckling, as she filled her coffee cup.

All the other people that were sitting in her section now had finished eating or 
had paid their bill and gone… 
Which meant, of course, the order that was “up” was headed for -- the only table left to serve that she was waiting on.

Right away she hurried off to fetch the single meal. She always did her best to make sure everything was hot. 
But as I watched her lay the plates of food out on their table, I was just amazed at how much food that couple got!

Me and Dad and Mom together couldn’t have polished off all those scrambled eggs and ham.  I couldn’t believe my eyes! 
The glass of milk was twice the size of all their largest drinks, and every time I talk about that day…my mother cries.

Three or four years later - I believe when I was twelve - a friend of mine, a girl from school, got very, very sick.
The doctor said they’d have to find a special type of kidney to save her life, and nothing short of that would do the trick.

The paper ran a story telling what her chances were, and how the kidney had to be a very special kind.
My parents broke the news to me, as gently as they could, that what my friend was needing would be very hard to find.

Then, a few days later, they would print another story: 
“KIDNEY FOUND!  A MIRACLE!” - is how the headline read. 
It told of how the “tricky operation” was successful…but as for who the donor was…the paper never said!

Three months later, that girl’s folks would have another baby - a little girl with golden hair, and eyes of azure blue.
And I recall my mother’s tears when she informed my father that they had named their newborn baby…“Thelma Lou!”

And, just a couple years ago…when Frank and Addie Campbell missed the curve at Turkey Creek…and Franklin lost his life, 
Addie wound up destined for a nursing home…alone…something Frank had always vowed to somehow spare his wife.

Well into her nineties…with no relatives at all…no property - or savings - or insurance to her name,
Addie understood that there was no place left to go…but when the time to take her to the rest-home finally came,

To the town’s amazement…‘til old Addie passed away, to spend her days in heaven with her Franklin once again,
And with no compensation ever given, or expected…that chubby, red-haired waitress, from the diner…took her in.

Those are just a few things that I know that Thelma did to help…through troubled times…some folks she didn’t even know. 
Mom, throughout her life, believed that Thelma was a saint.  And now I know the reason why, whenever we would go

Down to that old restaurant, if Thelma was our waitress, instead of leaving just a dollar…Dad would leave her two! 
Today it’s clear as heck to me the diner’s finest asset wasn’t floats or french-fries…it was actually…Thelma Lou.

Now…at sixty-five years old…I’m sitting here this morning, listening to the reverend…as I dab my tears away… 
Really not surprised at all to see so many people gathered here inside this church to say goodbye today.

Thelma touched so many lives, and I agree with Mother - she had to be a saint to do the wondrous things she did.                                                                                                          I know first hand about her giving ways because…for me…it started at the diner, back when I was just a kid....

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Categories: spoken word, heart,love,memory,
Form: Narrative

Premium Member 2 Detectives and a Victim, Tonight's Episode: the Twist
Joe: "It's 9 a.m., here in Gotham and my partner, Mike and I, have been here since 7 a.m., and we also passed a cow coming over here!"
Mike: "That was no cow sir just a very nice looking St. Bernard, sir."
Joe: "Who asked you, your holiness. It was very big, and if it had chased me, I would have had to use all my bullets and yours, just to put it down!"
Mike: "Sir, they are lifesaver's!"
Joe: "You mean they are life takers, enough then, just tell me what you have so far.   What a mess!"
Mike: "Well sir, we have the victim here [points to the body] a Mr. Carl O'Malley, age 69, caucasian, and a retiree. He also owns one vehicle, parked downstairs, we're having it towed down to the yard, it's a gleened cherry apple special, 4-door convertible, fully loaded, 32" screen HDTV, but one setback. Just a small area, we had found some corrosion, sir."
[Joe and Mike steps out for a bit while the victim's body is removed]
Joe: "Did he have any heirs?"
Mike: "Not that I know of sir?"
Joe: "Okay, I want you to check if he had any relatives. Afterward, [whispers] check on the blue book value of that car, then get that information back to me. Okay, do you understand me?"
[CSI signals that they are done]
Mike: "Yes sir."
[Joe takes a call and returns after a short while]
Mike: "Sir, they have just removed the body and that everything went like clockwork."
Joe: "Well, let's get back in there and do some detective work, what do you think."
Mike: "Sir, as you can see, they align the markings on the floor where the victim had been shot. The victim was in a twisted position on the floor. When the body fell, it fell to a contort position."
Joe: "That's good! Could I get an officer, please!"
[an officer approaches, and Joe hands him a bag]
"Now, I want you to take this bag, then seal it for me." 
[officer returns with the sealed bag]
"Now, attach this small bag with it, it's the victim's personals. It will need to stay in the evidence room until the next of kin is notified. Here's the paperwork that goes with it."
Officer: "Sir, you forgot to sign it."
Joe: "Okay, give it to me, [writing] and there it is, done, and now that you have my signature, off you go!"
[standing in the hallway, seeing off the officer, a woman carrying an infant juggling groceries were in passing]
Joe:  "Cute kid, bet he likes to be cuddled."
Woman: "Bet SHE don't!"
Joe; "I was going to help carry your bags, but  ."
Woman: "Looks like you can't even carry yourself!"
Joe: "Well let me carry the kid then."
Woman: "Nah, you'll break him!"
Joe: "THE KID?"
Woman: "Okay, come on then, you big gorilla!"
Joe: "Well, that is a surprise, here let me take that for you."
Woman: "Thanks, the kid's name is Joey!"
Joe: "Well, what do you know, that's my name too!"
Woman: "Your name is Joey?"
Joe: "Well, it's Joe, Joey, only to ma!"
Woman: "You had a mother."
Joe: "Oh, don't start up again, I'm still recovering from your first knock-out, and I think that it was an upper-cut."
[more giggling]
Woman: "Name's Mary. You a boxer Joe?"
[an apartment hallway talk fades]
[Joe returns]
Mike: "Sir, can you come in here. Now, admittedly I was a bit confused at first, but my subconscious mind led me to believe that the victim's back was most likely facing the assailant before the attack, and just when the victim had turned, that's when the shooter shot him. That's also in the responding officer's reports, both stated that the body was slightly twisted around. 
Joe: "Well, that's how we found him Mike but what I don't understand is all the blood spread all over the place?"
Mike: "Sir, I think the way the blood is all spread about the room's mid-section, other than where bled out on the floor.  Picture this. Mr. O'Malley was a ballad dancer, saw the pictures, it's all over the place, like the blood."
Joe: "What's your angle?"
Mike: "This guy is dying and realizes that he is not in the place that he wants to be at the end of his life, in his kitchen. And what does he do, the guy wanted to be on stage and he was in pickle, after all, this was his final curtain call so he did what he did best and being in that spinning momentum, he did that pirouette thing, and by looking at the amount of blood loss, there seems to be more blood on the walls and stuff, then on the floor. In the end, he must have been writhing in pain."
Joe: "Amazing kid! To the very end eh? The final curtain. That's something kid! I bet you're hungry."
Mike: "I'm starving!"
Joe: How's about a 20" Gotham pizza on me."
Mike: "Wow, thanks, sir."
Joe: "Come on, let's get out of here before we become furniture!"
[coming to Joe's car outside]
Mike: "Sir, I wanted to thank you for helping me out since I started
Joe: "Just get in the car kid before your pizza gets cold."
[two guys saw getting into a car laughing]
Joe: "You know kid, you did good, you did real good. You are going to do good in whatever you do, and wherever it takes you, kid."
Joe: "I think it's way past time, you earned your stripes today." Great job kid! Oops! I meant to say, thank you, SIR!"

Date: 08/22/2019 Ten Word Challenge Contest Sponsor: Kai Micahel Neumann

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© Hilo Poet  Create an image from this poem.
Categories: spoken word, 10th grade,11th grade,12th grade,6th grade,7th grade,8th grade,9th grade,
Form: Dramatic Verse
Premium Member Sophisticated Lady - Small Town Girl - Both Audio and Text Versions
“Sophisticated lady” gropes the table at her bedside, blindly taking random swipes to kill the morning scream 
That shatters little privacies she shares with no one else, and steals, with full impunity, her one recurring dream.

Cursing imperceptibly, she slaps the tiny box wherein the rude intruder hides by which she is annoyed. 
Sometimes six or seven times she fumbles at the buttons, until, at last, the sound that robs illusions is destroyed.

Underneath her quilt…to grab a few more minutes rest…she almost falls asleep again, while trying to decide -
Might this be the day she packs a bag and leaves a note to say she’s gone to satisfy a yearning long denied?

“Sophisticated lady” knows her time is running out. She’s begged herself so many times to cede the perfect way 
She dedicates her every ounce of effort to her job. She never comes in late…and she has never missed a day!

Years surrendered honing every aspect of her life, struggling injudiciously to be the best she can,
She works like hell to prove to all who know her (as she seems), she’s better than most women and - as good as any man.

Long ago convinced the way she felt her life should be was worth the many sacrifices she would later make, 
“Sophisticated lady” has survived her shallow world for long enough to realize…she made a grave mistake.

Deep inside our “small town girl” believes she’s been betrayed. She scans her cultured nails, which just intensifies the hurt. 
Her mem’ry of the tiny town - from thirty years ago…the one where she was born, but would eventually desert -

Is trapped behind an endless wall of “debonair” and “chic” that helps her, day by day, to fight her war of self denial,                                                                                              While searching for a courage that will compromise her plight, and save the soul that hides behind her cheap, robotic smile.

“Small town girl” sits up at last and wipes away the tears that join her every morning, then she lifts away the hair
That helps obscure a deep concern for what her life’s become, and every tedious thing she does for what she must prepare.

She moves across the room to where a blind that’s tightly drawn has thrown a tamboured shadow on the cold and dusty floor, 
And twirls the rod to flood…with light…the life she’s living now, exposing what she’s missing from the way it was before.

The Porsche she drives is rented, and her gowns were bought on sale. She sleeps on tattered linens, though the spread is made of silk. 
She dines on business credit cards and drinks the finest wines, but - home alone - she’d rather nurse a goblet filled with milk.

Those who truly love her live just far enough away that visits are impractical…for any length of time… 
Unless she makes arrangements to abandon her resolve to scale the corporate ladder she is trying still to climb.

Taking time to leave her busy world is not an option. Only by the emails and the phone calls here and there
Can she make herself believe she knows of things back home, assuming those who care the most are keeping her aware.

She feels the life she’s missing…with the ones she left behind…lies waiting in the distance, and the one thing she has learned 
Is things she loved about the home she left so long ago are smoldering in her bosom…and, until she has returned,

Her heart is like an ember that has somehow been, displaced. The fire that she belongs in burns a thousand miles away. 
Deep inside she understands the pain she’ll feel to leave is nothing even close to that she’ll feel if she should stay.

And then - like almost every day - “sophisticated lady” makes her way to where she dons the mask she always did
To help disguise her innocence, deceiving one and all, and keep them from discovering that…she’s just a small town kid.

But now, somehow, more clearly, “small town girl” can see the truth, as morning sunshine burns away the fears that dim her view. 
The voice that’s begged her many times to make the break and run to where she longs to be again now tells her what to do.

And as the sound of traffic far below her in the street desecrates her common sense and steals into her mind,
She is well reminded of the world she’s come to hate…and moved with great conviction by the one she plans to find.

She stands before the condescending woman in the mirror…the one who’s held her captive for so very many years… 
And blatantly deprives her of the powder and the rouge she’s used to hide her wrinkles and the furrows from her tears.

Today there’ll be no lipstick - and her hair will not be sprayed.   No blushes, or mascara, no…her eyes will look the same 
As when she was a little girl…back thirty years ago…before she turned her back on those she loves to - play the game.

Glancing at her closet filled with suits and fancy gowns she’s wearing now - at forty-nine - to hide her thighs and hips -
She cries aloud, “Oh, what the hell.”   Then…standing at her chest…withdraws a drawer and digs beneath the nylons and the slips,

Until she finds the piece of lingerie she’s had for years, but never actually found the nerve to wear outside the house.
Today she’ll wear the smallest briefs and tightest shorts she owns, and those who care to look will know -- she’s nude beneath her blouse!

“Sophisticated lady” doesn’t quite know what to do…having not, for all these years, perceived herself this way…
But this is - “Independence Day” - for “small-town-girl,” at last.   She’s finally made her mind up, and - she’s going home to stay!

PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal)


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Categories: spoken word, sorrow,
Form: Narrative
Premium Member 4th Generation Soda Jerk -- Both Audio and Text
This is one excited kid and one PROUD father...

I took my son to the lumberyard last Tuesday afternoon. The day itself, though toasty, was the best in quite some time.
And when we’d finished shopping - after loading what I’d bought - he glanced across the highway at the Woolworth’s Five and Dime.

“Dad,” he said, “you promised me, on more than one occasion, you’d take me into Woolworth’s for a shake…and, man…it’s hot!” 
Truth is - he was right. And being 98 degrees, I smiled to prove I didn’t mind he’d put me on the spot.

Fact is, twenty years ago, I’d worked there as a youngster, just the way my dad had…and his father, Zachery, too! 
Glancing down at Gavin, his expectant little grin tipped the scales reminding me - his turn was overdue.

“Great idea,” I countered, as we hopped back in the pickup, then headed ‘cross the highway to the sprawling friendly shop. 
The huge, two-story building - there since 1896 - was where, as kids, we’d often gone for licorice sticks and pop.

Mom and Gran were Woolworth’s girls. It’s where they’d get material you only see today in pictures taken long ago!
Amazing how the fashions change. Just check your oldest albums. Once you’ve turned a page or two, I promise you…you’ll know.

What they wore, and how they wore their hair, is quite amusing. Gavin held the door for me, then followed me on in.
I watched him as he scanned the place, his face transfixed in awe, as he became acquainted with…the way it was back then.

Dangling from the ceiling were a bunch of iron kettles, lined up by their sizes, maybe six or seven rows.
Panning ‘round the massive room, like all first-timers do…I smiled to watch my youngster being baffled by his nose.

Unfamiliar smells he’d never known were all around him. The slightest trace of Black Jack, Clove, and Beeman’s filled the air.                                                                            Jars with sticks of peppermint and horehound lined the counter, and ads for things extinct for years were posted everywhere.

The mesmerizing ambiance would captivate his thinking. The wonderment that filled his mind was glowing on his face. 
“Golly, Dad,” he fin’ly quipped, “you’re right about the feeling. It’s just like stepping back in time. I really like this place.”

“So do I,” I countered. “Don’t forget…I used to work here! And so’d my dad, and even his old man…Great Grandpa Zack!”
We wandered through the whole darn store, and - though their goods were current - the unmolested store displays abruptly took us back.

By seeing things that older people always found in stores, like: pants and jackets hung behind an aisle of sliding doors… 
Several waist high counters lined with pencil labeled drawers…and escalators - 
(found in only those with second floors).

And watching, as it carried shoppers slowly up and down, (those shiny, long, hypnotic stairways always turned my head), 
Gavin - now immersed in all the wonderful nostalgia - didn’t even notice it when, “Time to go,” I said.

I placed my hand below his neck and steered him toward the counter. The gorgeous marble - veined with greens and grays - was glowing bright. 
A flower-blossom-figured shade - with pink and olive panels - proudly crowned the soda fountain’s alabaster light.

I watched him read the labels on the row of syrup dispensers - most providing flavors from a very distant time. 
A few examples : sarsaparilla, ginger ale, and lemon…grape and cherry julep… orange crush, and even lime!

“Man, if I could get a job here,” Gavin softly said, “they’d never have to worry about me showing up for work!” 
Looking ‘round I spotted, by the tarnished old brass register, a tiny notice advertising, “Wanted – Soda Jerk.”

Gavin hadn’t seen it yet so I said, “Here’s a twenty. Order me a cherry coke, and get yourself that shake.
And don’t forget, son - what you wind up doing for a living - often proves - 
in “LIFE ” - to mean much more than what you make!

“Hey, how about that register,” I added, “ain’t it classy?” hoping, when he ordered, that he’d spot the little sign.
It worked. He fin’ly saw it. And, as no surprise to me, he spun around and found my face…then locked his eyes on mine…

And beaming like he does when he’s excited, he announced, “They’re looking for a soda jerk! Can you believe it, Dad?”                                                                                              I felt a little nervous when I paused to contemplate - this would be the first job that my son had ever had.

Glad he’d asked, despite the fact I had some reservations …(he’d had his sixteenth birthday only seven days before), 
There he stood imploring me to offer him my blessing, all fired up, anticipating working in that store.

“Tell him, when he brings our drinks, you’d like an application. Working in a place like this ‘d really do you good. 
I talked to Mom the other day and left it up to her if you could get a job or not, and she agreed, you could.”

He filled the application out while snarfing down his milkshake, took it to the office, then we headed toward the door. 
“Golly, Dad,” he told me, as we headed off for home, “I can’t think of anything I’ve ever wanted more!”

“I really hope you get it, son,” I told him as I drove, “‘cause not too many stores like that have stood the test of time,                                                                                                 And I’d be tickled pink if generation number four would hold the job of “soda jerk” in that old - “Five and Dime.”

PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal) 


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Categories: spoken word, father son,relationship,youth,
Form: Narrative
Premium Member Reunited -- Both Audio and Text - W-Illustration
Many of us have a favorite possession from when we were young, and this 
93-year old gentleman is no exception.


The wind was whisking briskly through the January night, as I lay quietly sleeping on my feather mattress bed.
My dreams were filled with azure skies and balmy summer breezes, as scenes of ivory-tinted beaches swirled inside my head.

Twice, at least, I woke to hear the storm at work outside…laboring in the darkness to submerge my world in white.
Our tiny North Dakota farm knew well what storms could do, especially those that showed up close to dusk…then stayed the night.

This was no exception, and the hard, relentless blizzard left its cold deposit while the land was fast asleep.
The early morning light of dawn unveiled a quilt of snow that ranged in places…here and there…from 3 to 4 feet deep!

I am just a poet, so I had no place to be, but still I sensed a desperation lurking deep inside.
I’d seen at least a dozen documentaries where storms had actually almost buried people… some had even died!

But as I peered across the rolling void of wafting flakes, and watched the blinding drifts of crystal sparkling as they did,                                                                                                  I was overcome with joy when - bursting through my mind - a wave of mem’ries washing in from when I was a kid

Carried me away to when my days were filled with fun by hours and hours of sledding down the sloping piles of snow. 
And as I stood there, staring at the waves that rose and fell, I felt the urge to don my winter garb, and say hello.

Bundled up in overcoat and pilot’s cap and scarf, and with my finest insulated knee-highs on my feet,
I blazed a virgin pathway from the backdoor of my house down what seemed a foreign, yet familiar, curb-less street.

A wavy, intermittent row of fence-post-tops remained to indicate…like polka dots…the boundaries of my lawn.
The well pump handle, fully raised, appeared a rusty finger pointing at a sky from whence the culprit clouds were gone.

Simply irresistible, I took the freshest breath of frigid air I’ve ever known, then headed toward the shed.
I knew that in that ten-by-ten, dilapidated shack, for more than eighty lonely years, there’d hung a weathered sled.

Kicking through the depth of snow that buried half the entry, I slowly carved a pie-shaped void to gain my way inside.                                                                                                 And once I’d lit the lantern, I would spot it hanging there, in what had been…for all that time…a perfect place to hide.

Just across the way…and so completely just the same as I had left it resting there so many years ago…
Staring back at me, I saw my “Flexible Flyer” sled!   With runners worn from endless rides down hills of drifted snow -

It momentarily hypnotized me…left me in a trance! 
I felt the warmth of happy tears that crept into my eyes,
And wondered, as I crossed the floor, if it was fair to hope that I might be a long lost friend that it would recognize.

Pausing for a moment more, to watch it...undisturbed, I reached to touch the fading stencil…faint, but clearly there, 
And as my eyes caressed the rusty frame and tattered rope, I once again would clearly feel the love we used to share.

From deep within, a tiny voice I seldom hear these days, whispered softly, “Hey, old buddy…thanks for droppin’ in. 
It’s really great to see you, and you’re really looking good. I think of you on snowy days, and…every now and then…

“Through that frosty window - on the backside of the shed - when little groups of children wander close enough to see… 
I can once again relive those happy winter days when you would come and take me down and - ride the hills with me.”

Hearts have always had a way of gleaning little comments from almost out of nowhere (and that no one else can hear), 
And I was truly moved to feel those sad, yet tender words - to learn my old companion - through that window at the rear -

Could only hang and watch the children sledding just outside. 
It actually hurt to think about the way it must have felt
To cope with how it used to be - between the snow’s arrival - and when a warmer day passed through, and most of it would melt.

There we were…a winter day…and totally surrounded by drifts so firm and sculptured, they were begging for a sled, 
And I could actually feel the most ridiculous temptation stealing in to pose its crazy challenge in my head,

To rob me of my senses, and convince me it was time to lift my little friend-of-long-ago from off the hook,
Then course the slopes together…as we did when we were young…and disregard concerns for how the two of us would look.

I was ninety-three years old…the sled was older still…but as we joined the group of children sledding there that day,                                                                                         Like a pair of long lost friends - that now were reunited - the two of us, again, were like two little kids - at play.

   BTW: I plan to post many of my AUDIO files on the soup over the next few months, most from my 4 new AUDIO-CDs, along with many more text files from my books of verse. (Only a few CDs and books left -- 1-11-21). 
   Because, as with most academically undisciplined poets, depending entirely on the mood I’m in at writing time, my pieces vary greatly from meaninglessly comical to meaningfully poignant, and a few are, admittedly, irreverent. If you happen to enjoy “traditional verse” - and appreciate great variety, check out my website’s at:  WWW,WRITEROFBOOKS.COM --- or Google me...after 58 years of penning verse and authoring childrens and suspense books, I’m easy to reach! I've also got a bunch of my verse posted on Youtube, and a few samples listed on Ebay, both findable by simply searching: "Mark Stellinga". 


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Categories: spoken word, childhood,relationship,
Form: Narrative
Premium Member Memorabilia
My wife and I met more than a few of this type of “shifty wheeler-dealer” during our many years dealing in antiques and collectibles.


“If you have a minute, friend, I’ve got some things for sale.
The kinds of things you don’t see every day,” began the tale.

“Ya’ see…this real old lady walked into my shop last night
And sold me this here diamond ring. I really bought it right.

Her wedding ring I s’pose…who knows…just heft this giant jewel.
Stones this big are hard to find, and, buddy - as a rule -

I keep this kind of merchandise locked up inside my vault.
But, well…I had a wreck this week…they ruled it was my fault,

And so…against my better judgment…I’ll make you a deal.
I’ll let it go for fifty bucks, and friend…now that’s a steal.”

A rock that big for fifty bucks!!  Now that just made no sense.
But I do buy memorabilia…from the greater sports events…

So I got wise and told this dude what I was partial to,
Then he comes back with, “I’ve been lookin’ for a guy like you.

“Couple years ago,” he adds, “when I was in L. A.,
I’m walkin’ past this baseball field where little leaguers play,

“I stop to ask directions from this chubby little youth,
When, suddenly, I notice on his uniform…“B. RUTH”!

“So I ask, ‘You related to that famous New York Yank?’
And he says, ‘Boy, old Gramps could hit…and I’ve got him to thank

‘For giving me his favorite bat…though I can barely swing it.
It seems to bring me real good luck. That’s why I always bring it.’

“Now, I’d been buying things like this to build a sports museum
So all sports fans would have a place where they could come an’ see ‘em.

“I told the kid of my idea. He liked my selfless plans.
He said he’d like to see his grandpa’s bat there…for the fans.

“But I just couldn’t take it, so I gave him forty bucks!
I bought that old bat fair and square. But now, it seems my luck’s

“Run out at last.  I guess my dreams ‘ll have to change, and so…
Although it breaks my heart…for fifty bucks…I’ll let ‘er go.

“But if a bat is not exactly what you had in mind…
Let me dig a little deeper…see what I can find.

“Maybe you would care to take home Mickey Mantle’s glove?
Or, if that’s not the kind of thing that you were thinking of,

“How ‘bout Grange’s helmet?  Or, maybe Russell’s shoes?
I must have something really great a man like you can use.

“Got Willie Mays’s baseball cap, and Yogi Bera’s mitt!
I’ve even got the bat that Roger Maris used to hit

“Homerun number sixty-two!  I’ve even got the ball!
And here’s a ball that Arnie holed-in-one!  And that’s not all.

“Here’s the putter Nicklaus used to win the P. G. A.!
These are not the kinds of things a man sees every day!

“Now, I can see that you’re a man that knows a real good buy,
So I’ll sell all ten pieces, friend…and please, don’t ask me why…

“‘Cause it just tears me up to sell my very finest stuff.
But, I’m a little short on cash, and, if that’s not enough,

“You seem like the kind o’ guy who needs a little break,
And though I know it’s crazy, sir…the least that I can take

“For all these super pieces…and this is gonna sting…
Is fifty bucks.  That’s fifty cash…and I’ll throw in the ring!”

Well…that might seem like cheap to some, but I’m nobody’s fool.
I just strolled around the room, and played it kind o’ cool.

I ain’t the shrewdest man alive, buy I know -- “money talks,”
So I said, “You’ll take forty-five…or this collector walks.”

He grabbed the cash, we loaded up the goods, away I went;
Proud to own such super stuff, and for so little spent.

Two weeks later, as I read the Sunday morning news,
Under “Sporting Goods” I found an ad that lit my fuse!!

“Please attend our seminar on calling geese and ducks.
We’re raffling off Bill Russell’s shoes…five chances…fifty bucks.”

And then I found another ad…but under “Cars and Trucks.”
“The model T of General Grant!!…near perfect…fifty bucks.”

Suspicious, nervous, worried…ticked…I had to make that call.
Had I been sold what actually was just -- “anyone’s” bat an’ ball?

The man that answered was the guy who’d sold me all my stuff.
“I’d like to know what else you have for sale,” I tried to bluff.

“Well…I’ve got Lincoln’s favorite hat! The gun of John Wilkes Booth!
The wooden teeth of Washington!   The favorite bat of Ruth!

“I’ve got Grange’s helmet…and the shoes that Russell wore
When he helped the - Dolphins - take the cup…in 1924!”

When he paused to take a breath, I asked, “How can that be?
You sold that helmet - bat - and shoes…two weeks ago…to me!?!?

“And I see “Bird’s Anonymous” is raffling Mickey’s mitt!
And now you’re selling Henry’s model T!  You’re full o’ ---  poop!!”

“Now wait a minute, sir,” he said…“if you’re not satisfied…
I’ll be glad to take them back.  And if you feel I’ve lied…

“Let me make it up to you.  I’ve got the perfect thing.
Why…just last night I bought the most fantastic diamond ring!”

Well, that was all that I could take.  I freaked completely out.
I’ve lived from that day on a nervous fear, and doubt!

My life was changed forever with that forty-five I spent,
And - as for “memorabilia” - from the greater sports events -

I would quit collecting from that very moment on…
And, 5 ‘ll get ya’ 10…his one-of-a-kinds WERE NEVER GONE!

PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal) There are a bunch of my pieces on YouTube as well ---


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Categories: spoken word, sports,
Form: Narrative