The Good Deed (a Halloween story)

The Halloween Tree
The Halloween Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On Halloween night I would advise you to be wary of strangers.  In the movies a stranger always turns out to be crazy.  But what about your best friend?  Can you trust him?     




The Good Deed




The branches of the trees reach out like long grasping fingers trying to pluck out my heart. The trees play games on Halloween but I ignore their sick antics.  I love lying here under the trees, planning good deeds, and watching rescue teams try desperately to save someone.


There is more than tree branches to fear.  There’s the river.  Its cold dark waters keep calling me and inviting me to swim.  But I suppose the river lures many people down its banks to take a quick dip.  I’m too smart to fall for the river’s tricks.  The current could drag someone down very quickly while he was struggling and gasping for breath.  I can imagine it so clearly.


My friend always walks along here at night….about this time, too!  How can he stand it? It’s so quiet.  It’s even spookier when the clouds hide the moon’s face.


He always said that he wanted to die while he was happy.  He wanted to go quickly, too, not a slow agonizing death.  He told me today (when he said he was going to get married) that he was happier now than he’s ever been before.  That’s why I picked tonight.


He did me a favor once.  He shoved me out of the way of a speeding car.  I never saw it coming, but he did!  I was so proud he was my friend.   Not many people would risk their lives for someone else.   He was in the hospital for eight months.  That’s the reason I’m doing him this favor.


I can hear his voice and he’s not alone.  He’s with his fiancé and they’re talking about how they want to be together for the rest of their lives.  She said it would be romantic if they died together.


I guess I can do that.  I’ll change my plans to include her.  They’re lost in love.  They don’t even see me.


I’ll have the element of surprise.  One quick shove and they’ll be in.




She went under fast.  O, there she is again.  He’s trying to save her.  He’s calling for help.   I can’t let him ruin things. I’ll help him go under.  He’s a real friend.  It’s worth it.  The water’s cold!


He fought harder than I thought he would.  I almost drowned.  Next year my good deed will have to be better planned.  I don’t want something to go wrong.






Expiration Date

Expiration Date (film)
Expiration Date (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Expiration Date


Questions without answers drive me out of my mind,


And one answer in particular has been hard to find,


I’ve been noticing the labels on products in stores,


All the way to the ceilings and down to the floors,


From the ones I think marginal to the ones first-rate,


They’re all bar coded and have an expiration date,


Now I’ve been wondering but I’m not sure it’s true,


Are there expiration dates stamped on me and you?


Although I’ve inspected my skin from head to toes,


That date might still be hidden right under my nose,


There is so much to know and I want to relate,


What conditions are expected with my expiration date?


Am I like a fragrance and age pleasantly over time?


Or will I degrade quickly after I pass my prime?


No longer guaranteed to be as effective as before,


Even with a receipt I can’t be returned to the store,


Freshness, quality assurance, an answer I seek,


How long will it be before I’m past flavor’s peak?


Am I like a Golden Delicious that’s juicy and sweet,


And then become rotten and not fit to eat?


Do I have a warranty that’s determined by fate?


Or should I just expect to gradually deteriorate?


If I don’t have an answer then what will I do?


Time will expire without a chance to renew.






Your Pets Know

English: There Cap'n Goldsack goes, creeping, ...
English: There Cap’n Goldsack goes, creeping, creeping, creeping, Looking for his reasure down below!: illustration of a pirate ghost. This was originally published in Sharp, William (July 1902). “Cap’n Goldsack”. Harper’s Magazine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Your Pets Know


When you’re alone or scared at night and feeling very tense,


Who knows what dogs hear, and who knows what they sense,


A dog might snarl and show her teeth while staring at a wall,


Someone might have entered the room, yet you see nothing at all,


When the silence gets too loud, during the time that you fear most,


You’ll wish you had a dog around, to warn you of the ghosts,


A faint smell of decaying flesh or a chill running up your spine,


Is enough to put your teeth on edge, but when the dog starts to whine,


A powerful force is in the room, sharing your time and space,


Your dog will remain beside you, as the ghost meets you face to face.


A cat, on the other hand, might hiss and arch his back,


A cat knows whether friend or foe, and if the ghost will attack,


Should the cat stretch and purr, as if stroked by a ghostly hand,


There’s a gentle soul in the room, who hopes you understand,


If either the dog or the cat runs, terror evident in their eyes,


Then it might not be a simple ghost, but the devil in disguise,


Pull the covers over your head, should you be scared at night,


And if you want a chance to flee, keep your pets in sight.




The Monster from Forest Drive

English: Raider's Road, Forest Drive Sunlight ...
English: Raider’s Road, Forest Drive Sunlight shines through the new growth on the pine trees on the Raider’s Road, Forest Drive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Monster From Forest Drive




A monster lived at forest edge,


Right at the end of Forest Drive,


His neighbors chose to lock their doors,


If they wished to stay alive.




Both his wings had been broken,


With a cane he could hardly walk,


He didn’t look mean or scary,


But he could talk real monster talk.




There were rumors he lived in the basement,


Others said the attic was his home,


He was often seen on cloudy days,


And at night he chose to roam.




He shuffles, he stumbles,


As he howls at the moon,


He is sure to catch one of you,


If he’s not caught real soon.






No one knew where he came from,


He suddenly appeared one day,


The neighborhood was upset he was there,


Because he took their place to play.




Their meeting place had been at forest edge,


Where their bonfires often lit the sky,


He built his house on their spot,


Without telling them his reason why.




He snorts, he chuckles,


He’s covered with blood and gore,


Waiting for the lights to go off,


He stands quietly by the door.




The witches of the cul-de-sac,


Stirred up a powerful brew,


They thought their potion lethal,


But he said, “Thank you.  I’ll have two.”




To their surprise he took a sip,


Without losing his feeble mind,


There seemed to be no aftereffects,


Except the foot he dragged behind.




He shuffles, he stumbles,


As he howls at the moon,


He is sure to catch one of you,


If he’s not caught real soon.




Blood-red wine was his favorite drink,


And bones he chewed for lunch,


All thought his manners were impeccable,


Royal blood would be their hunch.




One dark night they gathered,


To discuss his solitary ways,


He had made them all uncomfortable,


For five years, two months, and ten days.




He snorts, he chuckles,


He’s covered with blood and gore,


Waiting for the lights to go off,


He stands quietly by the door.




In a large casket they sealed him,


No more to see the light,


Security police accidently let him loose,


And he slipped quietly into the night.




Somewhere in this vast country,


He was last seen entering a town,


Hunters of all kinds searched the woods,


But no monster could be found.




He shuffles, he stumbles,


As he howls at the moon,


He is sure to catch one of you,


If he’s not caught real soon.




He snorts, he chuckles,


He’s covered with blood and gore,


Waiting for the lights to go off,


He stands quietly by the door.




I Am a Poet

Poetry Workshop by Pooja Nansi 3
Poetry Workshop by Pooja Nansi 3 (Photo credit: Steel Wool)

I Am a Poet

When I began writing poetry I tried to make one person happy…me. I read the poetry of others and discovered amazing blogs and posts and felt intimidated But I kept writing because I wanted to see how I could be.

I am an artist who paints with words,

Splashing color and feelings around,

I am a musician who saturates the air,

Strumming across hearts with sound.

I am a doctor who feels the wounds,

Stopping the bleeding of those in pain.

I am a teacher who educates a child,

Sharing wisdom like drops of rain.

I am a world citizen who lends a hand,

Giving a village a new chance.

I am someone who cares about others,

Challenging the world to dance.

If I could add a few golden words,

Changing frowns into glorious grins,

Then I would know I’ve done my job,

For a smile is where poetry begins.

I Loved From Afar

Album cover of From Afar by Ensiferum.
Album cover of From Afar by Ensiferum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I Loved From Afar


I admired her from afar,


She had the eyes of an angel,


The smile of a devil,


She swore like a sailor,


And had a silver tongue like a lawyer,


The flair of an actress,


Told stories like a fisherman,


Lied like a trooper,


And wrote like a poet,


Studied like a scholar,


Worked like a carpenter,


If she had cared like a nurse,


Or showed one shred of remorse,


I would not have feared her,


I could have risked and loved,


Willing to learn from being vulnerable,


Squeezing success away from failure,


Telling her how much I cared,


But I feared making a mistake,


I was terrified I would be rejected,


So I left happiness lying in the street,


While I ran with my eyes and heart closed,


Keeping my emotions bottled up,


And I loved from afar,


Safe for another day,


Or maybe an eternity.
















Melt My Heart of Stone

When my daughter was only three,

She was as independent as can be,

On the playground she could hear me calling,

“Wait for me!  I don’t want you falling.”

But she would race toward the slide,

Even at that tender age she had pride,

“Me do it!” she would stubbornly insist,

She refused my help and would resist,

Hardheaded and independent, (just like her father).

So why should I try to help?  Why even bother?

As the years passed by, I didn’t get any wiser,

I didn’t save love and I didn’t become a miser,

I didn’t seek truth from wise men near and far,

I relied on myself to follow a distant star,

“Me do it!” I shouted to the heavens above,

“Why do I need help to learn the ways of love?”

Fair maidens passed often in the depths of night,

But their hearts were broken, sad was their plight,

I was too independent so I remained alone,

Hard-headed but sad, my heart turned to stone,

Who could open her heart and give me a chance?

Who could love enough to spark new romance?

I learned to accept help from any source I can,

I became less difficult; I became a calmer man,

With years of experience I became smarter too,

I decided not to rely on me; I wanted to depend on you,

Working and playing together as a team,

We could turn my world into a better dream,

Man was not meant to be alone,

“Help me please; melt my heart of stone!”








Miles of Travel and Roadside Stands

A typical flea market shop, in Germany Françai...
A typical flea market shop, in Germany Français : clients aux marché aux puces Русский: Блошиный рынок во Франкфурте-на-Майне, Германия (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Miles of Travel and Roadside Stands


Bouncing along in my old sedan,


Stopping for refreshments at roadside stands,


Miles of travel watching for flea market sales,


Electronic games and puppy dog tales,


Little brother’s laugh echoing for miles around,


Counting farms and houses before the next town,


Tired and grumpy after an hour or two,


A fight or argument and a quarter is due,


A roll of quarters for each child,


Dwindling down as behavior turns wild,


Happy is the child who manages to maintain,


Happy are the parents who don’t hear them complain,


Watching billboards, children play the alphabet game,


From license plates they learn the states by name,


A day of travel with few fights and no fuss,


Is there a family as happy as us?


We have good times aplenty as we travel afar,


Though crowded together in my old red car.




Are We There Yet?

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnets...
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Are We There Yet?


I often heard my children ask, “Are we there yet?”


On a trip we had just begun,


That was their way of saying,


They weren’t having any fun.




When I consider we’re all kids,


Traveling the same kind of road,


“Are we there yet?” means to me,


Someone is tired of his load.




We live in a smug cruel world,


Where we claim everything is under control,


But it’s time we search our hearts and ask,


Have we really reached our goals?




We haven’t found the ways to peace,


Though we tried with flowers in our hair,


Even SGT. Pepper could not stop the wars,


Even though we tried to care.




A white horse appeared on a cloud,


Its rider clutched a bow,


Representing conquest and a destructive force,


Sending peace reeling with a mighty blow.




Famine spreads across the land,


While food supplies dwindle down,


Animals and people fight to live,


But little grows on bloody parched ground.




A black horse stepping high,


With weighing scales at his side,


Famine strikes fear in all hearts,


While hope disappears worldwide.




A fiery horse gallops with color aglow,


Mass slaughter is his game,


His rider lets persecution and pain go free,


War is still the one to blame.




Pestilence still sweeps the world,


While we turn our heads in vain,


Trying to ignore terrible diseases,


That keep third world children in pain.




Death still stalks each of us,


We won’t leave this world alive,


But couldn’t we try to slow death down,


Allowing us a few more years to thrive.




Astride a pale horse with sunken eyes,


The Grim Reaper wears a grin,


He scans the earth looking for those,


Who have already died within.




Are we there yet?


It’s a question we should ask,


Have we done all we can possibly do,


Before we give up our chosen task?




The Four Horsemen continue to ride,


Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death,


With sword and gun they sweep the land,


And steal each feeble breath.




Are we there yet?


The question echoes on,


We can’t stop to boast or reset,


Until the battles are won.










Class Reunions Are Measuring Points

50th Class Reunion
50th Class Reunion (Photo credit: roanokecollege)


Class Reunions Are Measuring Points




After my senior year in high school,


I left and vowed I’d never return.


For twenty years I kept my word,


For I had worldly lessons to learn.




But I began celebrating with my graduating class,


While I continued acting on life’s stage.


I found class reunions to be entertaining,


I wasn’t content to be left frozen on a yearbook page.




My ten year reunion seemed a little cold,


Conversations were earnest and matter of fact,


I laid out my dreams for all to see,


Pressure was on me to perform and act.




“Step in line.  Let me take your picture.”


I wanted pictures reminding me of the past,


I believed the beautiful people should pose first,


Although my inner fear was I might be last.




“Smile!”  the photographer barked,


My picture was taken and I found my seat,


Around an oval table sat unrecognized friends,


Who waited for a tri-tip dinner and good things to eat.




An invitation to the twentieth reunion arrived by mail,


“Your senior class is inviting you to attend,”


The invitation told me where and when,


Then signed, Your Anonymous Friends.




My curiosity was piqued by that note,


I put it on my calendar to make sure I was there.


Classmates arrived from parts unknown,


They all looked different; I had to stare.




Some men had beards or lost their hair,


My high school sweetheart was someone’s wife,


She had been married fifteen years,


Had a truckload of kids and was enjoying life.




I went from table to table searching for friends,


But many didn’t respond and didn’t go,


I tried not to show my disappointment,


When people asked, I’d say, “I don’t know.”




After twenty years the race was still on,


Life goals were in concrete set,


Families and jobs were often compared,


Friends asked, “Have your expectations been met?”




Classmates acted young and were chasing dreams,


They were waist deep in life as years flew past,


Each reunion became a measuring point,


And it seemed everyone was having a blast.




When the thirtieth rolled around I was racing by the rail,


Some classmates were ahead and avoiding the dust,


Their fortunes were already made,


They’d reached a level called “upper crust”.




The fortieth reunion was far more relaxed,


My retirement was rolling into sight,


Conversations were more about grandkids,


Houses and travel, and how money was tight.




Although I needed glasses and the light was dim,


I dared to study one rough-hewn face,


Memories of a young athlete competing


Were evoked from distant time and space.




His face was one I immediately recognized,


But when I shook his hand he seemed surprised,


“Bill,” I said, glad I could remember his name,


“Remember when we beat the Tigers in the big game?”




Then a woman’s face, etched with lines,


Hiding things she seemed afraid to share,


Perhaps she worried about a child’s health,


Or about a husband who didn’t care.




I wanted to distract her with a few kind words,


“Mary, I sat behind you n Spanish class,


I just wanted to tell you thanks,


Without your help I knew I could not pass.”




My role in life was to encourage and entertain,


I never won any academic awards,


But seeing my friends grin or smile,


Was to me a fantastic reward.




Once my mind had kept my body under control,


“Mind over matter,” had been often said,


Now my mind was losing its grip


“What’s next?” was running through my head.




I bought tickets to the fiftieth reunion


I decided to go before my energy drained,


Time was taking its daily toll


Sometimes it seemed little energy remained.




Before festivities started I looked around,


Wondering why men and women stared at me,


Squinting as they looked at my name tag,


They mumbled things like, “Long time, no see.”




It was time to focus on serious matters,


Because discussions centered around health,


Medicare, operations, medicines, and pills,


I noted that everyone cared less about wealth.




There wasn’t enough time to share my life,


For after dinner there was a live band,


Stirring up excitement with words I knew,


Playing sixties music to those who could stand.




Time and years had changed me,


From being indestructible with unstoppable plans,


I came to the realization I was fragile


And life had not been left in my hands.




My mirror tells me I have changed,


The years had not always treated me kind,


If I wander off or get left behind,


I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve lost my mind.




My features have coarsened and my hair turned gray,


Suddenly it seemed I became old and bent,


But the memories of reunions I’ve collected,


Are there to remind me I was glad I went.




I wouldn’t do things differently if we meet again,


Except print name tags larger so I can see,


An extra one backwards, larger, and upside down,


For I might need to be reminded that I am me.


















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