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37.4k · Oct 2013
The Road To "One Chicken"
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
The Island Moorea,
backpacking Tahiti,
In the heat, the sun,
The rhythm of my footfalls
crunching loose gravel road,
The swish of pack swaying
in conert to my measured pace.

Breeze pushing branches of Palm,
Ocean waves breaching shoreline long.
Island vehicles passing, occupant's laughing,
a man laboring under large pack, alone walking,
Who could have been freely riding,
Unthinkable to Island Folk,
in hot tropical places.

Some humble homes passed along the way.
Greetings exchanged with smiling faces there.
Not long afterward a new sound approaching,
crunching gravel, rolling up behind me.

A lovely young girl, perhaps nineteen,
long brown naked legs bike a peddling.
Hair jet black, long to her waist, wearing
a sarong, split up the side,
Shoulders bare and brown.
Dark eyes of wonder, sparkling of youth.
A radiant smile adorning a splendid face.

We went for a time at my even pace,
looking and smiling each in our place.
"Hello there," I said, she giggled, beamed
even bigger. Perfect teeth displayed.

"Why you walk?" She asked in heavily
accented puzzlement.

"To get to where I'm going". I replied
This response producing a pleasant laugh
from the girl. In which I too joined in.

"You go One Chicken?" She asked
I stopped then and turned to her.
"Where is One Chicken?" I questioned
with a grin.

She raised her graceful arm,
one finger pointing up the road.
"One Chicken there," she informed.

It was a store/bar, sort of place,
In the very midst of nowhere.
Indeed, more than one chicken roamed,
Many chickens did and a pig or two,
mingling free and doing their thing.

We entered out of the bright daylight,
into the deepest of darks,
Like in a movie theater, when arriving late.
Eyes adjusting slowly to what lay ahead.

A few Island Beers later,
I had acquired several new friends,
The girl my invitation to the party of
already happy people a little drunk on beer.
The Music was mostly of French persuasion,
With a bit of Bob Dylan thrown in.
The Beatles also had a tune or two.
The Liverpool beat resounding down Tahiti way.

Before the light did fail, I shouldered my pack
and walked some distance from Chickens and Pigs.
Found the beach, hung my Hammock for the night.
Built a small fire and opened a can of Spam delight.

She appeared again about ten,
looking beautiful in the new moonlight.
Newly washed hair, still damp and
smelling fresh of Lilacs,
Or some such aromatic scent.
We did not speak, no words were needed,

Made love on the sand, 'till the retreat of the
tide and sand ***** did come out, in their
eerie numbers, to eat what was at hand.
I suppose even us if we were still and let

We retired then both to my hammock,
A pretty neat trick if you can swing it.
And we did.

She was so childlike and yet,
very much a woman grown.
There was no pretense shown,
no false inhibitions rendered.
These were not limitations of her culture.
people that respond to their emotional
impulses. An open and free spirited
people living passionately within each
minute shared.

It all felt more akin to a dream than real,
All around me there was beauty,
Loving and being loved without hurry,
Free of guilt or even a single expectation.
Living in that wondrous moment,
of uncomplicated human splendor.
Like some Garden of Eden surrender.
A real-life Gauguin painting.

In the morning, we swam naked in the sea,
frolicked like kids having a day at the beach.
Made love in the sand, I dozed in the sun.
Upon awaking she was gone.

I waited an hour or two, packed up my camp,
shouldered my load and returned to the road.
A few minutes later, again I heard the now
familiar crunch of rubber tires, rolling road
surface and there she was, a straw basket in
her Bike's basket, a huge smile on her
unforgettable, beautiful face.

We sat in a grove of trees, among birds singing,
in sight of the sea, upon a Palm log and ate fresh
bread and fruit. Drank strong black coffee
(French Roast I presume,) nibbling some
marvelous cheese.

We tried to talk, but she understood little of
what I tried to say, my French was nearly
nonexistent, only adding to confusions sake.

She leaned her head on my shoulder,
the way lovers do and tenderly held
my hand within her two,
As if not wanting to let go,
Those gestures said all there was to say,
And we savored each silent moment.

We parted there, she on blue, rusty bike
and me on "shanks mare",
Off in two different directions,
Each out into the depths of our own lives,
Gone just like that. . . And yet,
Indelible, never to be forgotten or replaced.
Some days and nights, that young maiden of
Moorea does still visit me, in dreams as real
as can be. She never grows old, nor does the
beauty we shared for that one brief moment in
time immortal.

Someplace among the Islands of Tahiti
there is a woman in her sixties, most likely
a Mother, even a Grandmother yet living.
I hope she recalls as fondly the American blond
man with the big Orange Backpack, that in 1972
she met upon the road, near "One Chicken" and
loved freely and completely for two days and a
night, as that man does so fondly remember her.
20.4k · Nov 2013
Sitting In A Dingy Bar
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2013
In ’68 Hutch and me,
Sitting at the bar drinking
Our third cold beer.
In a semi Fern Bar
Laguna or Newport Beach
Which now, I’m not sure.
It was around nine or so,
A week day night,
The place more empty than not.

She came in alone, made
Entry like the dramatic host of
A TV show. As if she were the
Center piece on the nations
Thanksgiving Dinner Table.
Over dressed to the nines,
Lots of color, heavy make up
She didn’t really need.

Her perfume scent hovered
Around her like a cloud of insects  
On a hot summer night in a wet meadow.
Kind of made my eyes water up.

She perched daintily like a dancer,
Upon a bar stool,
Three empty stools down,
Nodded the bartender her regular order.
A martini, a double it was,
With but a dab of vermouth.
One green olive on a stick.
The glass was prechilled as if
It had been waiting only for her.
She pounded that first one down,
As if the stem wear was a shot glass.
Another full stem glass appeared,
That one also quickly consumed
Two bright red lipstick stains all that
Remained in or on the stemmed glass rim.

Her main task accomplished,
She audibly exhaled,
As if tired or relieved.
I couldn't tell which.
Turned around on her stool to face
Hutch sitting closest to her.
“You boys Marines.” She declared,
More than inquired.
The close chopped hair cuts
giving us away.

Hutch just nodded, he never did say much.
A ****** just back from The Nam,
A dark scary guy of few words.

She opened her fur trimmed cloth coat,
exposing two very nice stocking clad legs,
And just a quick flash of red underpants.
Rotating towards us so we got a better shot.

She announced her name,
like as if we should know it.
Our blank stares informed her we didn’t.
Her face was to me, somewhat familiar.  
From movies in the 40s or 50s.
We were early 20 guys, she much older,
Trying hard to look younger, not succeeding.

Soon she was sitting right next to Hutch,
Two more Martini stems had come and gone,
Her lipstick finger prints upon them.
And still Hutch had not spoken more than
Three or four words.

She bought us a pitcher of brew,
Hutch grunted a short bit of gratitude.
We didn't have to say much, she was in charge.
It was all about her, she rambled on and on
Speaking volumes saying not much at all.
Beating back her crushing obscurity,
With flowery reminiscence recall,
Of glory days, long gone away.
Important for the moment, if only to her.
It was all; “me and I, I did this, I was that,
I slept with him,
And him and him”.
How about so and so?  I asked,
“No Darling not him, he was gay!
Still is.”

It was not long and she was touching Hutch.
On the hand, the shoulder, she was working him
With languid hungry looks from her big baby blues,
And the message could not have been plainer,
Had she held up a large hand lettered sign.

I don’t believe she was a “Working Girl”,
Just someone very lonely seeking to find
Herself, and some company for the night,
All to prove that she was still alive.

Looking at her, I could only think,
How sad and pathetic she seemed,
How desperate her plight.
To humble herself so,
In that dingy bar, among strangers
She did not know, Acting yet, still
On the only stage she could find,
Staring in her own bad ‘B’ movie drama.
In that dingy smelly bar.

Hutch and her left after a hour or so,
He never told me much about it.
He was unofficially AWOL for three days.
I covered for him, kept his name off the
Missing Morning Formation Reports
and the Daily Duty Lists.
No one cared to check. Our unit made up
Of mostly guys back from the war,
A pretty loosey-goosey outfit.

Once in a while now I see an old movie,
most are Black and white, Film Noir stuff,
And there she is, a much younger her,
Looking pretty **** good,
Not real big roles they were,
Claimed she was in the chorus
Of "Singing In The Rain" in '52.
To this, I can not attest,
watched that film several times,
But I never saw her there.

Had parts Playing damsels in distress,
A mobster’s gun moll a time or two,
Or unhappy Play Girls on a bar stool.
I guess it was type casting that done her in.
Or maybe she got a little too long in the tooth..
A sad ending to a short B movie career.
Life ain’t easy, even for a so called “movie star”.
Fame is not all it’s cracked up to be.
A smattering of fame, apparently worth,
Nothing at all.
True stuff from an old guys past.
She had called the Company Office
once or twice, looking for Hutch.
He told us to tell her that he had
been Shipped Out, when he actually

She no doubt found someone else to
tell her story to.

I saw that woman the other day on TV,
an old film on Turner Classic Movies
doing her thing. I sort of wonder what
ever  happened to her, but refuse to
Google it to find out.
Some information you don't need
or what to know.
It did inspire this little Poem Noir write.

Got a letter from Hutch in '70, we were
both out of the Corps. He was headed to
the Arabian Desert as a hired gun, to guard
some pipe line operation. Have no idea what
became of him after that. Hutch was a real hard
case, 14 confirmed kills through a ****** sight.
I hope he made it out of the desert all right,
maybe sitting on a beach someplace recalling
his back in the day three nights with a once
upon a time B movie star. Actually I doubt he
recalls her at all.
19.4k · Aug 2013
Decisions And Procrestination
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2013
Went to the County Fair today,
I have always liked to go,
So many animals,
and things to see,
It's truly quite a show.

The Carnival Games are fun,
But certainly never free,
Most are surely rigged,
You hardly ever succeed.

There are Side Shows galore,
Some bring, right out in the open
******* clad young women for
perusal, to tease men into arousal.
But you need to pay to go inside,
To get a better peek.

Best of all though, for me,
Is the vast array of Junk Food,
Right there on display,
for everyone to see.
Forbidden none healthy stuff,
that the rest of the year,
I never get to eat.

While walking around,
The sights and the sounds,
of these many prohibited treats,
Their enticing smells do so delight,
That my stomach begins to growl.

It does not help, that huge colorfull,
signs, on each food stalls does adorn,
Advertising it's tantalizing offerings,
making them all the harder to ignore.

The combination of these deeds,
of visual, and nose sensory sensations,
Can doubtless render this person,
incredibly weak in the knees.

Next up jumps a big dilemma,
Which one thing should it be?
Pop Corn, with lots of salt and  butter,
Better yet, that fresh corn on the cobb
I see.

Look over there, Oh MY!
It's fried dough Elephant Ears, I spy,
Sprinkled with honey and cinnamon,
I seldom, almost never pass them by.

Oh YES, Bright Red Candy Apples!
A boyhood favorite of mine,
and a sure win.
An apple a day, they say,
Keeps the Doctor away,
The candy is just there for a grin.

Fried Chirreo's and Corn Dogs on a stick,
Both I could do, making that combination,
a bona fide Hat Trick.

Nachos dripping with melted cheese,
Oh sure, that's bound to please.

Pulled Pork on a bun would be kind of fun,
But the Barbeque Sauce gives me gas.

One that I'd almost forgotten,
How 'bout Candy Cotton?
A marvelous Incantation,
Sugar dropped into a machine's
whirring vat, spun like magic,  
Puff, just like that.
No slight of hand required.
Really quite a sweet sensation.

I've spent now over an hour,
Just wandering all around,
Looking at the stalls and signs.
And yet,
Still can't make up my mind.

Racked with indecision,
This perplexing dilemma,
Rests with no other person,
This one is all about me.
Yet another half hour,
from the clock has expired,
and still no decision is rendered.

The day is ending,
it's nearly Six,
Not long 'till Supper Time.
Before I left home,
My wife did inform,
"It's *** Roast tonight,
your favorite,
Make sure you're here by seven!"

With a certain hesitation,
And twinge of remorse,
Disappointment etched on my face,
I turn listlessly towards my car,
With slow pace resignation,
Still pondering all those treats,
I might have had,
If it weren't for my procrastination.

Decision making,
I've been slow to admit,
Has never been my forte.

Well perhaps, No for sure.
Maybe, I'll probably come back.
Tomorrow, or even the next day.
It could, or might possibly be,
That by then, I will have thought,
this all through,
And come to some decision.
And we know he won't, poor guy,
his sort never can.
Which of the treats would you have
picked? Bet you can make up your mind.
That's an easy bet. Writers make instant
decisions all the time.
19.3k · Aug 2018
Night Music
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2018
A steady cadence  
pulsing in a heart beat
like rhythm, voices
and strummed instruments
all in harmonized concert,
An orchestral multitude,
of frogs and crickets,
never tiring or ceasing,

How many must there be,
to render such a cacophony?
Sustained and loud enough
to keep city folk wide awake.

Nature's Music of the night,
should you but choose to listen.
How do they do that, all night
with absolutely no intermission?

A crescendo finale triggered
only by the coming dawn's
first light, and the boastful
crowing calls of our cocky
persistent red rooster chicken.

Where these musicians go in
daylight is anybody's guess.
To sleep I suspect, deserved
resting up for yet another
night of endless music.
Another value added feature
of living out in the country. Night
voices lulling me to sleep outside
my open window/screen.
13.8k · Jul 2017
Dinosaurs and Devices
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
I rolled out of bed
to start my day,
but the power was off
my all electric home,
as still as a grave.
No coffee, or toast.
The refrigerator not cold,
the freezer started dripping
the contents soon to spoil.

No computer, no cell phone service!
I began sweating profusely,
no air conditioning to cool me.
Not even a TV Emergency Broadcast Alert,
to release this uneasy feeling of topsy-turvy .

I drove into town seeking a pay phone,
with not a single one to be found,
gone the way of the dinosaurs,
extinct now too I assumed.

My old truck had no computer chips,
most cars did and were dead in their tracks.
I needed gas but the gas station pumps
electric computer driven, all DOA to boot.

The Nations electric grid had crashed,
blacked out, stone cold dead everywhere.
All heavenly satellites blacked out, expired.
Everything computer related (and
that is about everything), had ceased
to function as had the electronic reliant
world we had created.  

The street throngs of dazed people walked
around like zombies, clutching blacked out
dead computer devices, knowing not what to do.
Not even talking, forgotten I guess how to do that too.
As dependently defectively programmed as the useless
devices in their hands.

In a panic I did awake finding that
this scary dream world was indeed all fake,
a nightmare of fearful unconscious thinking.
My electric clock was still churning,
It's music alarm blaring,
birds outside still singing,
my cell phone started ringing,
it was merely another Robot call,
Welcoming me back to the 21 century.
Imagine if you can some man made device or solar flare
knocking out all the satellites in space and computers on
earth, then this nightmare is not so far-fetched.
I actually did have this unsettling dream. The possibility
of this reality does indeed exist.
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2013
The waves rush in and out again,
Legs useless, hands limp, arms bent,
The masked ones have departed,
the cutting now has quit.

Silent, though I wish to scream,
Brain it is pounding,
in a preamble to explode.
White light and incessant buzzing,
relentless pain is throbbing,
conveying its full extent.

Hands and kind face suddenly appear,
Holding blessed instrument,
Approaching now quite near,

Into my drip it does commence,
I descend into the depths,
white to grey to black again.
Down I go in welcome spin,
into the embrace of oblivion,
Ah, Morpheus my dear,
dear sweet friend.

Wake me not until I'm dead,
Or 'til the tide does ebb again.
Hospital stay 2011, Brain Surgery.
The Greek God of Sleep; "Morpheus"
And namesake of a common pain
reducing addictive drug, much
abused by certain seekers of
emotional relief. And people
in Hospital beds.
12.7k · Dec 2013
. . . . . . . . Seek . . .
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2013
Once I undertook a journey,
upon the very face of our entire world.
To view for myself the many pictures,
and written descriptions in all the geography
books and History Classes, National
Geographic magazines and movies seen.

A Quest to see with my own eyes what
I had only experienced second hand.
In my mid twenties, like a dream,
one foot in front of the other,
I went about exploring.

I sniffed and tasted the scents of foreign lands,
Incense, Sage and Frankincense, fish curry,
fried snake and even monkey brains.
Walked in lush Jungle Bush and Desert sands,
Along the shores of Islands and the coasts
of many lands.

Heard the voices of 30 divergent Dialects
and cultures, smiling and laughing with
the families and children of all of them.
Set beside the fires of primitive tribal men,
heard their chants to their gods above, the
moon, stars and the sun, the ocean, the land.
Clapped my hands and moved my feet in
their ancient mystic dances.
Drank their tea, Kava or whatever they shared
grateful for their offered unselfish brotherhood.

Stood on the flanks of the tallest Mountains
in the world, on my toe tips, to try to see the
face of the God of my youthful teachings,
disappointed when I did not see him, or Her.
Found instead an inner tranquility, imparted
to me by Red robbed Monks from within their
chants of Peace and wise earthly enlightenments.

Strolled the cobbled streets of two thousand year
old Cities. Walked among the ruined remnants of
nearly forgotten once great Civilizations.

Explored Modern European Citadels' of wealth and learning.
Over time rode on planes, ships, buses, backs of open trucks,
Horse pulled carts and human drawn rickshaws, taxis, subways,
rented motorcycles and cars.  Walked perhaps 1000 miles.
In all a journey of the mind and heart lasting three years.

And why you might ask, "What qualifies you as a pilgrim
of any kind, to travel so far, and wide?"
"What was I looking for, what did I hope to find?"  
All indeed, fare questions.

When a boy, I read a simple five word line,
“Seek and thee shall find". Curiosity and
Horizon Lust compelled me.
The next obvious question you might
ask is, after all that; “What did you find?”
That answer is very simple,
I found myself.
Most journeys end right
back where they started.
It is what one learns in
between the going and
returning that changes
everything including
the pilgrim/traveler.
10.9k · Aug 2018
Reason For Being
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2018
The older we grow
the faster life goes,
priorities change
quality of living
and loving takes
precedent, over
and material things.
Nothing as important
as family and friends.

It is racing now,
these fleeting days
and years, reflected
most in my grandsons
growing too soon from
children to young men.

Along with Steller parents
our little farm provides
a learning ground for the
kids, teaching life lessons
that inspire character and
self discipline, with Cows
and pigs to show at fairs,
pride earned with accomplishments
and Blue Ribbons to share.

So lucky am I having a ringside
seat, watching yet another family
generation ascend and grow,
Football and basket ball
games to attend, Christmas
morns of excited children
clamoring down the stairs,  
many birthday celebrations
with ever more candles aglow.
Memories all, retained and shared.

Perhaps the best part is,
these grandsons of mine,
still are up for hugs and
good night kisses, genuine
affection received and given.

Families are a true blessing
and a privilege, the only
real reason we are here.

All these things, remain the
sweet frosting on my aging
Grandfather's cake of life.
I sometimes wonder where
I would be without all these,  
my reasons for being?
9.1k · Jul 2018
Seasons Flow
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2018
Spring is the awaited child,
seeds to plant, plans to explore,
conjuring promise and renewal,
That awakens our soul.

Summer inspires with long
sunny days basking in the
embrace of green crops growing,
relief from heat under leafy trees,
leisurely nights of clean skies,
bright stars on high to infinity.

Fall comes as a warning beacon,
days of long shadows,
cool nights with chill breeze,
bedecked trees
in reds and yellow.
The report of hunters guns
from the depths of the forest.

Winter's a prelude to gloom,
short days, low sun when it
appears, wind-chills that burn.
Snow to shovel, ice to befuddle.
Conjuring envy and impatience
for the return of Spring.

So the seasons flow
one into another,
while every year lived
the cycles grow shorter,
with no guarantees of
how many more may follow.
9.1k · Aug 2018
History Repeats
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2018
Power is indeed a corruptive force,
Through all of mankind’s history
This has always been true.
Emperors, Kings, Potentates,
Popes, Presidents and Despots too.

Gathering near the Throne are the
Eager Courtier leeches reaching to
touch the anointed one’s robe.
Declaring their undying loyalty,
In the process selling their souls.
Their rewards, a speck of personal power,
Castles and new riches of gold.

Like their Master, the entitled ones
will lie and cheat, while ignoring
The principals of right and good.
Believing “Decency” is but a
poor man’s word, Never uttered
within the hearing of the Ruler.
Never a considered artifact of
absolute power.

The slaves, serfs, the common people
Matter not, but to serve the Ruler.
The power elite will start needless wars,
or offer up sacrificial lambs, all to distract
the unrest of the common man.
They will suppress human rights,
free speech and defame, banish
or imprison their detractors.

All merely smoke and mirrors to conceal,
Controlling agendas of personal greed.
From ancient times down to today
This cycle repeats. Now we are living
our own Textbooks history of tomorrow.

Kingdoms and Nations have perished
From this kind of poisonous corruption,
Needless to say, it will happen again.
Perhaps it already is.
Unless this write is too obtuse, We all
need to change our history to come.
Stand up and speak out and vote.
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2014
What is it that causes me to smile
for no apparent reason?
To feel my heart occasionally skip a beat?
To be so much happier than I used to be?
To sing when there is no music?
To regard tomorrow with such promise?
To feel so **** young again?
Like a kid still in High School.

Outwardly to those that know me,
There is no visible reason for all of this,
They might even begin to question my sanity,
Just a little bit.

Only you and I know the reasons,
That Love is in the air,
This rarefied air we are both breathing and sharing.
Thoughts rushing from my mind, pouring from my fingers.
For she, my Honey Girl.
9.0k · Sep 2013
Red Racer
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
There are times in life
when a man needs change,
And I don't mean,
dimes and quarters.

Remember when you
were just sixteen,
Driving all alone, solo,
in your old man's Buick?
All the windows down,
radio music blaring,
Your bare arm draped
out over the side of the door.
to better exhibit your bicep.

Hell mister, no doubt,
you were ten feet tall,
the king of the road.
Ever wish you had,
that feeling back again?

Cars were always my thing.
I owned some Detroit
Muscle, Full blown Chevy,
Firebird 400, Chrysler Hemi.
Smoked some tires and
went to Court a time or two.
Of course all that was long
ago in my fitter youth.

When I became a Yuppie
I acquired a Poodle Puppy,
a Porsche and a MGB.

But the ***** does turn.
and so then, did I,
And my road got,
a little bumpy.

Along came marriage,
then a baby carriage.
And a big house
In the Burbs.

Then came a progression
Of Volvo Station Wagons,
to Soccer Dad Mini Vans,
to large SUV's.
All for hauling,
any number of things.
Kids and dogs, strollers,
bikes, kites and scooters,
Fellow car poolers,

And less we forget,
"Pulling" things too.
Boats, RV's, Utility trailers,
and all nature of landscape,
gardening, and general
shopping paraphernalia.
Little League Teams,
Drooling big dogs,
Papier Mache Volcanos.
Home Coming Floats,
Once even a Goat
You name it, I hauled it,
Or pulled it!

Years rolled by,
eventually the Kids
flew the nest, got married.
And low and behold,
The wife and I split,
Each going our separate way.
No one's fault, just grew apart.
The thinly veiled allegorical
Previous Patriarchal
arrangement became,
A whole new start,
A workable self allegiance
to just one.

Soon once more, I was the MAN.
I ran out, bought a **** boat
But not having the kids around,
Soon sold it, having found out,
that alone, I was not a water sport.

I caroused around, dated women,
got my pockets picked,
learned a few lessons.
Fell in love, fell out again,
Took a few pretty good blows,
Right on the chin,
Even some down lower.

Round about then,
An Epiphany kicked in.
Remembered my most,
ennobling, happy events,
behind the wheel,
driving Dad's Buick.

As I stepped on the lot.
There was never doubt,
There was only one choice,
I just had to have that,
Little VW Bug Red Racer.

Nothing like your Mother's
Beetle, the engine's up front,
Not stuck in the trunk,
And man it produces over,
200 Big Time Horsepower
Not to mention,
Lays rubber in three,
Of six gears.
Getting all the while,
33 miles per gallon.

Receiving additional help,
from a sweet Turbo Booster,
Just like a big, Indy Track Bruiser.

There's 19 inch racing
tires and alloy wheels,
They look so cool,
Spinning in motion.

Dual stainless steel exhausts,
And best of all,
a cool collapsible,
Convertible top.

Rack and Pinion steering,
Handles like a sports car,
Yet still offers a backseat
To take my Grandkids,
out for a spin.

Dude, it's got,
All the bows
and whistles!

Top Down Driving is such a thrill,
Makes me feel sixteen again.
The open road, the sky above,
The wind blowing thru my hair,
what there is left of it.

Perhaps the only thing that
Could possibly make this
Driving experience greater,
Would be to speed down,
The road, going eighty,
Behind the wheel of my
Little Red Racer,
Completely **** naked,
And of course all the while,
Feel the wind in my hair.

I don't know, I'm too old,
To call this a mid life crisis.
But on the other hand,
Maybe the acquiring of
This little red sporty car,
Has something to do with,
Those Testosterone shots I'm taking.
I'm even thinking, of dying my hair,
naw, lets not get crazy!
8.5k · May 2016
Realistic Expectations
Stephen E Yocum May 2016
From youth, not unlike the love
I received from my family, I surmised,
that extended love might be everywhere.
With artless, open arms and heart,
I embraced this simple notion.
In time, sadly this childish wish
was honed to a hard truth by maturation.

Friends and loves come
and go, fleeting in heart,
and committed soul.
Unreliably, flowing in and ebbing out,
like deep undulations of an ocean,
all too often with sneaker waves
that pull us under. Breakers pushing
our ship onto the rocks, in a sea
of shallow unfulfilled expectations.
Encounters becoming disappointment,
with too many frogs kissed.

My educated suspicion is,
beyond our family of blood kin,
Faithful canine love is the only
other "truly committed devotion"
we are likely to get.

In the end, that may well be enough.
Perspective wisdom can be a bitter lesson.
8.4k · Jun 2017
Personification of Love
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
Sincere reassuring hugs,
Touching and
being touched,
Caresses shared,
Easy laughter exuded,
Intimate whispers
of affection exchanged,
A fellowship of souls,
Sweet Companionship
spread, like frosting on a cake.
As comfortable and reassuring
as your favorite old wool sweater
on a chilly night's weather.
****** passions undeniably
wonderful, yet often those
heated flames cool and wane.
The chemistry of loving
companionships can last
a lifetime and perhaps beyond.

For CJ with great affection
and love.
7.7k · Sep 2018
The Dance
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2018
Visiting a friend on his Quarter
Horse farm, the day sunny and warm.
We walked out to his brood mare
pasture, the ladies were running,
awaiting and sunning, anticipation
in the air and their nervous behavior.

Noble his name, consistency his game,
a reliable aging stallion, sire to many
fine sons and daughters, years of proven
pairings, came halter led and prancing.

He had their scent and his spirit awakened,
the three ladies believed to be in season began
to snigger and whinny, their excitement growing
as the stallion entered their grassy domain,
the dance was about to commence.

The handler led the big fella' forward,
both sides began their quizzical inspections.
one young filly more aggressively willing
than the others. Noble excitedly returned
her heightened interest.

Within a few minutes Noble began to rear up,
he knew his job, his august appendage extended,
trying several times to mount his mate intended,
adrenaline pumping his back legs began to shake,
on his fourth failed attempt the eager proven
suitor fell to the ground, rolled over, paused for
a moment and struggled to stand on unsteady legs.
Appearing even somewhat embarrassed.

The mare moved aside, kicked her hind legs in
the stallion's direction, whinnied loudly and
ran away. Rejected the old stallion stood looking
perplexed, failure was something unknown to him.
His spirit was willing but his aging body was weak.
The old stud slowly returned to the barn, his head
hung low, no longer prancing.

For every time and being there is a season, aging
is part of the cycle, like this stallion, we all reach
this moment of understanding. Sometimes gracefully,
most times with stunned disbelief.

From Noble to nothing in one afternoon.
The allegorical parable here is impossible
to ignore. Unless your are twenty four.
7.4k · Jun 2017
New Beginning
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
"Thirty plus years in a
loving happy marriage,
My husband taken
by long illness
and sad ending.

Five years companionless
loneliness endured,
Now a naked man
is in my shower,
I can hear him softly

Love and companionship
can come at any age.
Rendering you both
whole and renewed again.
One line spoken by my lady
friend that caught my attention,
truth in it's meaning undeniable
and empowering. Love can come
at any age. I know all this cause
I was the guy in the shower singing.
7.2k · Oct 2014
Hitchin' a Ride
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2014
Fifteen years old and thinking I was older.
'Assistant Maintenance Man' at a Public School
Summer Camp. Billy Deitz had just graduated
High School, I thought him the coolest guy
I knew. The first week was ended, the little
kids gone home, a new batch in two days time.

We did our work, cleaned and swept, sweated
in the summer sun. Took the old surplus Jeep
over to the creek and plunged ourselves in.
Deitz had some beer in an Ice chest, I drank
one, my first ever. We shot his .22 for a while
and ate PBJs in the shade. Then we heard it.

A train horn in the mountains is a haunting
call. It does not seem to belong there among
evergreen trees and massive granite boulders.
We drove the hell out of the Jeep and found
our way to the down grade tracks. And there
she was maybe 50 cars long, snaking her way
from the summit of the Sierras out of California
into Nevada. Through the Pass over a hairpin
filled course hugging the skirts of the rock face
mountains, slowly rolling her massive load
pushing her four engines, breaks a screeching
in protest. "Click Clack, Click Clack", her steel
wheels clanging upon the rails, a rhythm like
her train heart beating.

Deitz grabbed his coat and tied it round his waist,
looped a canteen over his head, "Lets go kid!"
I did what he said, and then we were running
along beside the box cars, more a trot than a run,
"Do what I do!" Deitz yelled over his shoulder.
A flat car with some machinery approached and
He grabbed on to it and pulled himself aboard,
I copied his moves and he helped pull me up
and then there we stood on the deck of that
moving, mountain ship, with her grunting and
shaking under our feet. We could feel all her
massive weight and power vibrating up through
that wooden plank deck of the flat bed car,
entering our legs and spines. . . It was thrilling!

I had not had time to think all this through,
"Now what?" I asked some what perplexed
"Reno Kid." Deitz yelled with a grin.  

We climbed atop a Box Car, our rail bound
ship crawled out of the upper pass and we
started to descend towards Donner Lake far

Looking behind and ahead it was hard to
understand how they had cut those tracks
out of solid granite rock and how the rails
maintained their frail finger tip grip on the
sheer mountain side.

We ducked nearly flat going through the snow
tunnels, the clearance was tight and it seemed
that a guy could lose his head. The diesel thick
air made us cover mouth and nose with our shirts.
Two tunnels in we noticed our faces getting
smoke blackened. We laughed at the joke.
Soot faced on a boxcar in a tunnel of wood.
Two city kids playing Hobo.

We reached the lower valley, passed the place
where the Donner Party met their grisly end.

Truckee was next and the highway grew close.
We got back down onto the flat car, hunkered
down by machine cargo, more or less out of sight.

I thought of all the down on their luck men that
had ridden those rails, not on a some lark. That
whole Grapes Of Wrath, Woody Guthrie period
of no joke, for real ****. Pushed by poverty and hope.

I must admit at that moment, I felt more alive than
at any other time in my life. I felt grown up, like a man.
Until my belly began to rumble, the speed increased
and the wind began to chill. The Click Clacks of the
wheels quickened and grew irritatingly redundant.
The loud wailing of the engine horn no longer exciting.
Now only hurt my ears.

It was dark by the time we hit Reno, we jumped off
before the train yard. Walked into town with its
bright lights calling the casino gamers to unholy service
and nightly prayer. Proceeded over by hard-bitten
dealers in communal black, with cigarettes dangling
from their unsmiling lips, possessing the empty
dead eyes of the badly used up and down-trodden.
Through the ***** windows, the people there seemed
to possess no joy in their sluggish endeavors.
Both players and dealers all losers, merely Automatons
of those despairing games of chance.

Reno was still rough-hewn in those days, a hard
scrabble place full of cigarette smoke, ******,
card tables, slot machines and not much else.
It seemed to reek of lonely desperation.

Having seen our soot ***** faces in the
window reflection, we washed up in the
cold river that runs through town.

We walked around, ate hot dogs,
Downed a Doctor Pepper.
"Now what Deitz?"
"**** I don't know kid,
first time I ever did anything like this."

"What?" My world collapsed right then,
I thought he was much more than
he turned out to be. Maybe everyone is.
I even started to get a little scared.
No money, no place to stay and apparently,
like most of the denizens there, **** out ah'
luck. I'd never felt that way before, from
mountain high to valley low in two hours.
All that excitement turned to Dread.

We hitched a ride with a long haired
guy of questionable gender, who kept
staring at me in the rearview mirror.
West, to a Truck Stop on the edge of town.
Found a trucker willing to give us a lift
back up to the summit.  Jumped in his rig
happy to find, that his cab heater worked.

Badly judged our get out spot, searched
and stumbled around in the shadowy dark,
dim moonlight looking for that **** jeep,
all that friggin' night.

When the guy that ran the camp returned
and found us sleeping at half past two,
in the afternoon in our tent, to say the least,
He was not amused.

Need I say, I felt much older that next day
and a little wiser too.
I wrote this memory for my kids.
may they never jump a freight train
out of ignorant curiosity.
7.1k · Sep 2013
The Bike Ride
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
Returned flush with excitement,
From a ten mile bike ride,
On a day near perfect,
Out along the river,

Temp in mid seventy's
not a cloud in the sky.

Beside the river I ride,
the water summer calm flat,
Scents of wet mossy rocks,
and dogwood trees non relenting.
The perfume of the Valley,
the River damp, sweet and pure.

Ride as I did the trails,
some on paved surface.
most on wood chips and dirt.

Shifting gears to suit the,
changing terrain and the
resources within my aged knees.  

The wind from my speed,
blows refreshingly in my face,
Dark glasses slipping down my nose,
yet keeping sun glare from blinding.

I pass some people,
I smile and wave,
they reply in kind,
Maybe we even
exchange brief
verbal greetings,
Some lost in a blur
of movement.

Easy for us all to smile,
we are happy in our work.

Half way there,
I stop for a drink,
Ease my burning legs.
The spot I pick is under  
cover of a huge old walnut tree.
It's massive umbrella shade,
an embracing sanctuary.

Across the way, a little lake,
On the far bank there stands a
metal skeleton outline of three
buildings that once stood there.
This recreated site of the first
European settlement in Oregon,
Clear back in the year of 1837.

Methodist Missionaries they
were, came overland West,
from North East by wagon.
Bringing so they thought,
Needed "Civilization" to the
poor "heathens" here about.
Almost as always a very,
mistaken, arrogant notion.

There effort lasted only
four years, the locals
responding not so well to
their well intending invitation.

In historical retrospect,
one can not but applaud
their self scarifies, hardship
and strife, some of them even
died still trying.

However they did open
the door, to a new beginning,
Be it for good or ill.
Soon other settlers
made the long journey.
Becoming "Oregon Or Bust"
for many.  

As I reflect sitting beneath
this tree those early people
no doubt planted,
from seed or sapling,
brought so far to this
new land of beginning.
It stands here still,
176 years later,
a wonderful living,
still growing testament
to human efforts of trying.

The breeze livens,
stirs sweet pungent
scents of brackish water,
forest, and Valley,
hints of crocus,
ripe black berries and
summer flowers blooming,
All these scents mingle,
and grow ever stronger.

Off in the near distance,
a strengthening breeze whispers,
Approaching through forest trees
coming ever closer and nearer.
Reaching me in a refreshing
gust that lasts for only a minute.
The sweat upon my face
cooling at it's touch. As I smile,
in grateful acknowledgement.

I have seen this day,
two kinds of squirrels
one red, one grey colored.
Coveys' of doves taking flight,
from my approaching bike,
And birds of many description,
A Red Tailed Hawk on wing,
Harassed by two small pursuit birds
protecting their nests from him.
A huge Bald Eagle diving for fish.
And one of my very favorites,
a spindly legged Blue Heron.
Standing in mud, fishing.
Even a smart fox,
scurrying back to hide
in the foliage, too shy
and too fast to be viewed
for too long by a human.

Thankful as I am,
for this one more
glorious day of living,
In the ***** of nature
so inspiring, so splendid.
I embrace Life and in return,
it grants me, continuation.

I plan on returning soon,
maybe tomorrow if my legs
let me.
To those new agers, young hip and maybe even a little
judgmental friends out there. I'm a plain simple old guy,
not word fancy, I write pretty much like I speak, a little
old fashion but straight from the hip and heart. No pandering,
no pretense, no ******* and surely no apologies intended.
It's not pure, maybe not even poetry, but what I guess I'm
saying is consider the source and take it or leave it.
It was written and intended all for me, from the beginning.
Which is what all writer's and poets should always do,
write for themselves not a Jury. There is a real freedom in that.
6.7k · Dec 2013
Passing It On
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2013
Hold your tears little man,
Ignore the hurtful things they say.
Rest your head here, with me.
Ten year old kids can be cruel,
Say things they should not say,
Hurt even their friends for no reason,
As yours have done today,
Thoughtless, mean words they were,
Said without thinking,
using bad judgment .

This thing they called you, “Fat Boy”
Or words to that effect, they mean nothing
Unless you let them, unless you don’t
Understand.  .  . Let me explain,
You are a growing boy, nearing what is
Called puberty, a physical change of
Your body from a little boy, on the way
to being a full grown man. Your body
will be ever changing, it’s how it is,
how it’s supposed to be, how it is for all people.
When I was your age, I had a more rounded
Shape as did your Dad at your age as well,
We too heard those mean thoughtless
Words directed at us. I cannot lie it hurt
every bit as much as these words and
names hurt you today.

Rest assured son of my son, dearest friend,
This chubby stuff, it’s only temporary not a
Permanente thing.

Now as to the stupidity of Mean people,
that hurt other people so thoughtlessly,
for them that state of Ignorance and
stupidity might just last forever.

Go dry your eyes and get the ball and Gloves
and let’s play us some catch.
Here wipe your eyes and blow your nose
on my sleeve and think no more about it.
Had this same talk with my grown son when he
was around the same age. Some things never change
when it comes to dealing with other people.
Meanness and ignorance it seems is generational.
To my grandson "W" you won't see this 'till you're
more grown up, until what I have told you has
become a truth apparent even to you.
With Love Poppy
6.2k · Dec 2013
My Grandfather's Hands
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2013
Funny the things we recall.
Images that flash through our brain.
Some most vivid for me were of an old man.
Skin like creased parchment paper,
Lined and yellowed with age.
The veins visible just below the surface,
of a thin nearly transparent veneer.
Liver spotted flecks of red,
Charted paths from the toil of many years,
Palms callused forever from a life time of labor.
Big fingers knotted and misshapen,
The two inch tip of one gone missing,
Saw taken, at age sixteen.

Looking at those old hands, one could hardly guess
That still there remained gentleness in their caress.
For an old dog, or a little grandson in need of some
Companionable affection or parental love.

Those aged hands could also make things,
Toy sailboats, and wooden trains,
complete with caboose,
And cow catcher guard.
A cool flute whistle that actually worked,
He said it was like the Indian’s made,
Out Oklahoma way.
And he would know,
He cowboyed there.

His hands taught me to tie my shoes,
Open and close my first pocket knife.
Those same hands could become birds,
rabbits, butterfly's, all sorts of things.
When projected up on the wall,
Silhouetted by a naked back light.
His hands knew magic too,
Pluck silver coins right out of my ears.

His tired face matched his hands,
visual weathered, creased and
wrinkled road maps,
Of 89 years of rugged roads traveled.

Yet, his lively pale green eyes remained
forever fraudulently youthful prisms,
Eyes and spirit of a much younger man within.

But it is his hands most of all I shall remember,
Their imposing look and their reassuring
touches of tenderness.

I shall never forget my Grandfather’s hands.
For my Granddaddy Clarence M. with Love and remembrance.
6.0k · Sep 2013
Speaking Of Dogs
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
Can there possibly be,
any more affable and
devoted friend than big old dog?

Dogs; the only animal in the world,
bred, and raised that have within
them one driving passion and desire,
to live along side and please their
human companions.

Should we find reason to scold,
or forcibly correct them for some
transgression of unwanted behavior,
They merely love us with their eyes
of shinning acceptance and affection,
Ready to forgive and forget.

A dog is not petty, they hold no grudges.
They seldom nag, never talk too much,
In short they are the perfect friend.

Other than a hopeful encouraging gaze,
Two times a day, like clock work,
Beseeching us as they do, for food,
They seldom require anything of us.
Except to be protected, loved
And treated fairly.

Oh sure they also let us know when,
they need to go outside to do their Duty.
Now that is so completely preferable,
to that other odious option.
How **** smart is that?
Sometimes I don't even know,
when I got to go to the bathroom,
And I'm an intelligent human.

At least once a day, they
conspicuously stand at the
door, leash in their mouth
looking to go outside,
for a little exercise.
And gentle reminder to us,
that a brisk walk would,
do us more good, than them.

I can sometimes be a little down,
When along comes my canine clown,
And charms and delights all that,
Right out of me. Such is their nature.

Even merely going out to the garage,
for less than five minutes,
Upon my return, I'm excitedly,
lovingly greeted as if,
I'd been gone forever.

Five minutes or five days,
To a dog, it does not matter.
Unconditional love has
no built in time meter.

If you could hook up,
their gyrating, manic tails,
to your house current, no
utility bills need be paid.

Sometimes I swear,
that old dog of mine,
is actually smiling.

Long tailed dogs can be a bit of a menace,
What with their "Excitement Whip" appendage,
slapping seated kids on the floor, in the face,
And sweeping all the little bric-a-brac,
keep sakes, right off your coffee table.
A small price to pay for all their affection,  

I like people just fine,
but I must honestly admit,
in the company of noble dogs,
I can be completely content.

Sure occasionally I seek the
reassuring comradeship,
of some good humans
As long as my dog,
can come along,
and attend the party too.

When I was a child,
we moved a lot,
Human Friends
were not in abundance.
It was an old loving dog.
that pulled me through,
his warm companionship
I have never forgotten.

It was about then,
that I truly understood,
that dogs are people too.
Much smarter than,
we give them credit.

The only real sad part
to this compatible pairing,
this marriage of the heart,
is that we must always,
it seems, out live our buddies.

Love is love and
gone is gone
and nothing
can ever change that.

That loss has come
to me, more times
than I care to remember.
I weep and morn and
Swear to never ever,
Suffer that pain again.
That my last dear friend,
was beyond replacement.

Yet, a sweet new
little puppy can
do wonders to heal
a sad broken heart.

Once more you begin,
to open your soul
and embrace that
young pup forever.
And what was old,
is new again.

And just starting over,
that fresh beginning,
That new budding
Is what's important.

For no man is an Island
as long as he has a
good dog beside him.
A little surgery, sure. Over stated, maybe too
sentimental, could be. But if you ever had a
great dog in your life I think you'll get it.
To those of you that hate this write, go buy
or rescue a dog and a year or so later talk
to me. Or better yet write some verse.
I bet it will contain some of this same
sentimental dribble will drip from your
chin too.
5.3k · Nov 2013
The Woman In a Black Dress
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2013
We had come to see him, the aging Tenor sing.
He was as good as he had always been.
But half way through, a woman appeared,
Moving gracefully in bare feet upon the stage.
Entering the ring of bright spot light near him.
Long blond hair, falling loose around her neck,
Held back both sides by Turtle Shell combs,
Reflecting the light.
Adorned in but a simple, low cut black dress,
Her with a face beautiful as a new spring day.

Held in her left hand an ebony hued violin,
Touched fondly, like a well accustomed old friend.
Her right hand holding a bow, ready and waiting.

The Tenor’s and her eyes met and conveyed a message
Only they understood.  Then starting slow and low,
The full Orchestra commenced. The woman in black
Brought instrument up to her chin, lovingly resting
her face upon it, as if comforted by it's touch to skin.

The fetching violinist, like a graceful reed,
In summer breeze, began to gently sway,
Laid Bow to strings and a transcended beauty,
The voice of both her Instrument and from within she,
Emerged through her fingers, completely filling the hall.
With eyes closed, the slight movements of expression
On her face registering the feelings the musical notes made,
As if those gestures too, guided the bow's musical cords.
Slender precise fingers lovingly caressing the strings.
For nearly a minute, she and her violin played alone.
Her actions of body, hands and head in concert,
To her music, unavoidably hypnotic it could be said.
The Tenor started to sing, and yet my eyes stayed
Locked on her, as if no one else in the room was there.
The blond woman in the black dress owned the stage.

I have no idea how long that piece of music lasted,
I could not attest to what contribution the Tenor made.
Fully my attention and eventually my heart belonged
To that lovely, evocative young woman in the backless,
Little black dress.

It’s true that I may never see or hear her play again,
I know not, even her name.
And yet, I’m sure that I will never forget those
Few minutes mesmerized by her magical spell.
Hopelessly caught in her enchanting web.

With me sitting, third row, isle seat left,
Worshiping as I did, at her so pretty,
Slightly ***** naked feet, the striking
Blond woman in the black dress.
How often do we have these all too brief encounters, mostly
from a distance, on a train, the street, in a store, or a concert.
Captivated by someone we will most likely never see again.
Enchanted for but a moment?  And yet unable to forget.
For me it was this past week at a concert.
5.1k · Jan 2017
Love Affair
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2017
She comes to me with
seductive expectation
in her alluring grey eyes,
Bewitchingly she crawls
onto my lap, my chest.
Our mutual desire for closeness
quickening the mood
She puts her arms around my neck,
Our eyes locked in an intimate dance.
I take her beautiful face in my hands
stroking it's soft contours, as she
closes her eyes pleasurably succumbing
to the gentleness of my touch.
She begins to softly purr.  

We both understand these brief
loving moments can never last,
owing to my damnable allergy to cats,
Thus, soon back outside she must ****.
As my shadow of a jealous dog herds
her out like she was an interloping stray lamb.
Part of my goal here was to tell a descriptive
story poem,with a beginning, a middle and
an ending in less than 100 words. Brevity being
the key.
4.7k · Jun 2017
An Island Adventure
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
Gauguin or Michener
horizon lust inspired,
The South Pacific desired.
From early childhood on.
Fiji in the 70’s all alone in
A Personal journey of self
and world discovery.

From the big island of
Viti Levu, embarked
on native small boat, fifty
miles out to the Yasawa group.
Reaching tiny Yaqeta with
300 souls living close to the bone,
No Running water, or electric spark
glowing. Remarkably bright stars
shine at night, no city lights showing
to hide their heavenly glow.

Unspoiled Melanesian Island people
Meagerly surviving only on the sea
and a thousand plus years of tradition.

I welcomed like a friend of long
standing, with smiling faces and
open sprits. Once eaters of other
humans beings, converted now to
Methodist believers.

Their Island beautiful beyond belief,
Azure pristine seas in every direction,
Coral reefs abounding with aquatic life.
Paradise found and deeply appreciated.
I swam and fished, played with the kids
and laid about in my hammock, enjoying
weeks of splendor alongside people
I came to revere, generous and loving
at peace with themselves and nature,
Embracing a stranger like a family member.

My small transistor radio warned big
Cyclone brewing, of Hurricane proportions.
My thoughts turned to Tidal Waves.
The village and all those people
living a few feet above sea level.
Tried to express my concerns to
my host family and others, getting
but smiles and shrugs in return.
Spoken communication almost
nonexistent, me no Fijian spoken,
Them, little English understood.

It started with rain, strong winds,
Worsening building by the minute.
The villagers’ merely tightening down
the hatches of their stick, thatch houses.
Content it seemed to ride out the storm,
As I assumed they always did.

Shouldering heavy backpack
I hugged my friends and headed
for high ground, the ridgebacks
of low mountains, the backbones
of the Island. Feeling guilty leaving
them to their fate from high water.
Perplexed, they ignored my warnings.

In half an hour winds strong enough
to take me off my feet, blowing even
from the other side of the Island.
On a ridge flank I hunkered down,
pulled rubber poncho over my body,
Laying in watershed running inches deep
cascading down slopes to the sea below.

The wind grew to astounding ferocity,
Later gusts reported approaching 160
miles per hour. Pushing me along
the ground closer to the cliff edge
and a 80 foot plunge to the sea below,
Clinging to cliff with fingers and toes.

For three hours it raged, trees blowing
off the summit above, disappearing into
the clouds and stormy wet mist beyond.

A false calm came calling, the eye of the
Cyclone hovered over the Island, as I
picked my drenched self up and made my
way over blown down trees and scattered
storm debris to the Village of my hosts.

Most wooden, tin roofed structures gone
or caved in, the few Island boats broken
and thrown up onto the land. Remarkably
many of the small one room “Bure” thatched
huts still stood. Designed by people that knew
the ways if big winds.

The high waves had not come as I feared.
Badly damaged, yet the village endured,
As did most of the people, some broken
bones, but, mercifully, no worse.

Back with my host family, in their Bure,
new preparations ensued, the big winds I
was informed would now return from the
opposite direction, and would be even worse.

For another four hours the little grass and
stick House shook, nearly rising from the
ground, held together only by woven vine
ropes, and hope, additional ropes looped
over roof beams held down by our bare
hands. Faith and old world knowledge
is a wonderful thing.

Two days past and no one came to check on
the Island, alone the people worked to save
their planted gardens from the salt water
contaminated ground, cleaned up debris and
set to mending their grass homes. The only fresh
Water well still unpolluted was busily used.

With a stoic resolve, from these self-reliant people,
life seemed to go on, this not the first wind blown
disaster they had endured, Cyclones I learned
came every year, though this one, named “Bebe”
worst in the memories of the old men of the island.

On the third day a boy came running,
having spotted and hailed a Motor yacht,
which dropped anchor in the lagoon on the
opposite side of the Island.

I swam out to the boat and was welcomed
aboard by the Australian skipper and crew.
Shared a cold Coke, ham sandwich and tales
of our respective adventures of surviving.
They agreed to carry me back to the Big Island.

A crewman returned me ashore in a dingy.
I crossed the island and retrieved my things,
Bidding and hugging my friends in farewell.
I asked permission to write a story about the
storm and the village, the elders' smiles agreed,
they had nothing to loose, seemed pleased.

One last time I traversed the island and stepped
Into the yachts small rowboat, my back to
the island. Hearing a commotions I turned
seeing many people gathering along the
shores beach. I climbed out and went among
them, hugging most in farewell, some and
me too with tears in our eyes, fondness, respect
reflected, shared, received.

As the skiff rowed away  halfway to the ship,
the Aussie mate made a motion with his eyes
and chin, back towards the beach.

Turning around in my seat I saw there
most of the island population, gathered,
many held aloft small pieces of colored cloth,
tiny flags of farewell waving in the breeze,
they were singing, chanting a island song,
slow, like a lament of sorts.

Overwhelmed, I stood and faced the shore,
opened wide my arms, as to embrace them all,
tears of emotions unashamedly ran down my face.
Seeing the people on the beach, the Aussie crewman
intoned, “****** marvelous that. Good on 'ya mate.”

Yes, I remember Fiji and Cyclone Bebe, most of all
I fondly remember my Island brothers and sisters.

Two years later I returned to that island, lovingly
received like a retuning son, feasted and drank
Kava with the Chief and Elders most of the night,
A pepper plant root concoction that intoxicates
And makes you sleep most all the next day.

My newspaper story picked up by other papers
Galvanizing an outpouring of thoughtful support,
A Sacramento Methodist Church collected clothes,
money and donations of pots and pans and Gas
lanterns along with fishing gear and other useful things.
All packed in and flown by a C-130 Hercules Cargo plane
out of McClellan Air Force Base, U.S.A and down to Fiji,
cargo earmarked for the Island of Yaqeta and my friends.

On my return there was an abundance of cut off
Levies and Mickey Mouse T-Shirts, and both a
brand New Schoolhouse and Church built by
U.S. and New Zealand Peace Corps workers.

This island of old world people were some of the best
People I have ever known. I cherish their memory and
My time spent in their generous and convivial company.
Life is truly a teacher if we but seek out the lessons.
This memory may be too long for HP reading, was
writ mostly for me and my kids, a recall that needed
to be inscribed. Meeting people out in the world, on
common ground is a sure cure for ignorance and
intolerance. I highly recommend it. Horizon Lust
can educate and set you free.
4.4k · Jan 2014
What Is This Thing?
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2014
What is this thing,
This change in me,
What is this feeling,
That is happening to me?
This possessing of my spirit.
This seemingly lack of control,
That was not always so.

That a concerto slow turn,
Played and heard,
Renders me weak in the knees,
A sweet moment of human joy,
Or actual real grief,
Even viewed on a movie screen
Can tug at my heart so.

So too, a child’s sweet song,
Though sung off key.
A blazing sunset,
Orange and red,
A thrilling thing to behold.
Nature always a motivator,
All of these and more,
Pluck cords of my emotions,
Like the strings of a harp,
So easily reduce me to tears.
Not body shaking sobs mind you,
Just a slow gentle stream,
Nothing my sleeve can't deal with.  

"Men don’t cry",
"Sensitivity is only for women",
Or so I have always been told.
Well it’s taken me a long time,
But I have concluded this bias,
Is a load of unadulterated *******!
‘Cause as it turns out,
I actually enjoy it.
And see no reason I shouldn't.

Not to mention,
It keeps my tear ducts open,
And free flowing.
In touch as I am with my feelings.
Strange the changes that occur in us, be they age induced or
a softening of the heart. Maybe they were always there and
we held them back.
4.3k · Aug 2019
The World has PTSD
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2019
The whole world has PTSD,
brought about by watching
far too much TV.
Normal people becoming
neurotic or psychotic
by all the "Breaking  News".

Talking heads spewing fearful
endless chapters of dread,
all with their own ax to grind
into our heads, day after day
after day until we want to scream.
Real news or fake, impossible
to know the difference.

A political landscape strewn with
landmines of division and hate.
Melting Ice, and adverse weather,
hurricanes and tornadoes devastate
and forest fires burn, as racists and
terrorists abound at every turn,
and crazy's with military weapons
killing us for sport, just to make
the nightly news, as our nation's
infrastructures crumble into ruins,
all "Breaking News day and night",
while we and the world choke and
quiver from an excessive Carb diet
of information overload, trying to
sleep bathed in bad dreams, laced
with too many strong doses of PTSD.
When is enough, enough,
the saturation point reached?
We've no choice but to disconnect,
Stop letting all that stuff into our
heads. Switch off and take a walk,
hunker down with a good book,
tend the garden, hug our kids,
learn that less is more. But make
sure come next election, there is
a Political reckoning and a White
House cleaning and fumigation rendered.
4.2k · Sep 2013
Here They Come!
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
They come amongst
a cacophony of noise
and clutter, little voices,
uttering unintelligible sounds,
amid giggles and laughter.
Sometimes it's pushing
and shoving,
"Mom he's touching me!"

Leaving as they go a trail,
of ever changing strange things,
like dropped Legos, paper airplanes
rubber band and old bent nails.

Once I found, to my otter amazement
A freshly dead intact Grasshopper,
Neatly folded up in brightly colored
Special Occasion Wrapping paper.
A gift no doubt from one of them,
left right out, on my Dinning Room Table.

Other times they emerge slow and stealthy
a  pair of Ninjas, all in black and scary.
Or as merely Batman and Robin,
Maybe Spidy and the Incredible Hulkster,
All of their personas assuredly entertaining.

As they barge through my door,
they tend to sing loud a lot,
True, squeaky, off key, yet sweetly.
Most are songs I've never heard,
Or just made up for the moment.

If I'm a little down, feeling kind of blue
five minutes with them is a sure cure
Funk gone in a flash, replaced by nothing
but happy.

Consummate story tellers they can be,
The nine year old should be the "Town Crier".
No news fit to print, ever went untold
from his lips, always relayed with such gusto.
Ask him a simple "How was your day?"
and he will recite 15 minutes of vivid detail,
all for my very delighted amused approval.

The six year old is sweet enough to eat,
Always bright blue eyes a flashing,
Not to be outdone, he will try his best,
to **** right in and share his days happenings.
Little brothers need always to try harder.

We all three laugh and joke,
and sometimes I break out,
the oh so dreaded "tickle fingers",
chase them all around 'till I catch one
and then for sure their screams of delight
and giggles do indeed fill up the room,
not to mention my old soft heart as well.
These little boys are pure magic.

Watching them thrive and grow, is my tonic.
A battery charger I can't get enough of.
Smart, charming, funny, sweet, cute and happy,
the loves of an old man's life. With them around,
who needs another.

They are a precious gifts from my kids, their
Mother and Father. Another chance to have
children close, be their loving guiding grandfather.

In them I see my son as a child, now a fine
grown man, In those boys I see the very
reason I was put on this Earth,
A life of human creation, come full circle.
4.1k · Jan 2014
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2014
When there is more past than future,
We begin to look inward,
To assess and know the person hidden there.
Enlightenment comes just in the nick of time.
Now that we have found it,
What shall we do with it?
4.1k · Jun 2018
Everybody's world
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2018
My life is sometimes only that green
that everybody see's during the day,
and at night when you awake
with your window open wide
and perceive the fresh scent
of a brand new beginning,
with the joy it transfers to us all,
conveyed within the air we breath,
that comes only in nature we see.
Today composed by my 11 year
old grandson Cooper. A Poet in
the making. All his thoughts and words.
4.0k · Oct 2013
On The Afghan Plain
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
By Stephen E. Yocum

In 1974, from out of Kabul,
The bouncing open back of
An old flat bed truck,
Eating dust and Diesel fumes,
Two alone we journeyed.

A round the world exploration
Of adventure and discovery.
Of lands and cultures,
people never before encountered.
Naive Ecotourists, before there
Was such a thing, called by a silly name.

The land there about, dry and dusty,
Sparse vegetations, Inhospitable to all,
Featureless and drab beyond comprehension.
Harsh lands breed harsh unforgiving people,
Matching their dire extreme surroundings.
This being one of those places.

I was on an adventure,
More so than she with me,
A rocky marriage at best,
Stressed further by months of travel.
I seeking the raw, the real,
She wanting first class comforts,
Like the “Good Life as seen on TV”.
A rough open flatbed truck, eating dust,
Not even close to fitting that description.

We were going to a small distant town,
Where I might see a game as old,
As that culture, of those Afghan plains,
A game, no truly more of a passion,
A long held national obsession,
Not so much played,
As combated, a war on horseback,
Brutal, ****** and thrilling.

Under noonday sun, yet chill of weather,
An hour out, four mounted horsemen
Appeared over a low hillock horizon,
Their horses in gallop, snorting, prancing,
High stepping, bounding, on a mission,
Kicking up a cloud of yellow/red dust,
The riders making straight for us.

These were the days before the AK-47,
Before the Russian invasion of ‘97.
The tribal Afghan men back then toted old,
Long Barreled, flint lock looking weapons
Often adorned with ribbon or paint,
Looking at first glance merely ornamental,
Not quite dismissing their lethal intent.

I had seen a sheep shot by one of
These old rifles, the entry spot was
The size of an American Half Dollar,
The exit hole the size of a tennis ball exploded.

As they approached, at my direction,
She withdrew further back towards the
Cab of the truck, beside a wooden crate.
I still sat, legs dangling over the tailgate,
One hand holding onto the wood slatted
Vertical, side rail of the bed.
The other hand on the hilt of my 8 inch Buck Knife.
That given the impending situation, would have
Done me as much good as my ******* into the face,
Of a very strong hurricane wind,
Doing me and us more harm than good.
All the while, still watching the horsemen,
As they rapidly approached ever closer.

Ignoring our dust, they reined in less than
Fifteen feet from our rear bumper,
(If there had indeed been a bumper.)
Horses wild eyes rolling, saliva snorting
From their mouths and nostrils,
Lather of sweat coating sleek bodies.
Looking more akin to fierce Dragons than Equines.

Their dusty riders looked like mounted warriors,
Escaped from out of a Hollywood movie,
Full bearded, hard men, with Scars on their faces,
Their serious dust laden red eyes burning like fire.
Jaws firm set, faces otherwise devoid of expression.
Dressed in traditional head to toe garb,
A style unchanged in hundreds of years,
Large curved Knives in wide leather belts,
Two, sporting hefty British holstered revolvers.
All four with long rifles in one hand,
Horse reins in the other.

Just like that, there we all were face to face,
I could not avoid their eyes, locking mine on
The bigger man near the center,
Hiding as best I could, my concern, no my fear,
With a neutral expression, neither smile nor sneer,
That might give me away. Yet the hair on the back
Of my neck did tingle, throat too dry and constricted
To speak should it even be required.  

The bigger man into whose eyes I stared,
As if I had issued some challenged invitation,
With but a single practiced move of his,
Right arm and hand,
(Horse reins held in the other),
Quickly shouldered his menacing weapon,
And sighted down its long barrel, right at my head.

Perhaps it was only a few seconds,
Yet it seemed an eternity,
That gun’s bore looked immense,
Like the gapping open mouth,
Of some great ballistic cannon.
For a moment I ceased breathing.
It felt as if my heart stopped beating.
I could not but sit there waiting,
There was no escaping.

That throw back to a fiftieth century man,
Held the power, of Life or sudden death,
In his hand, my life on the tip of his trigger finger,
He and I both instantly understood this.

It was clear in that one moment,
That to him, this was nothing new,
Or even of the slightest importance.
A thing to which he was plainly indifferent.

Down that bore, was a place in which lurked,
A lethal bullet with my name written upon it,
I felt trapped, like screaming, but remained silent,
Eyes open, and then why I will never know,
Still looking at him I narrowed my eyes and smiled.

As perhaps a reply on the man’s harsh face,
There appeared an ever so slightest grin.
Then he hefted his weapon back down under,
His arm and silently smiled and laughed,
In my direction.

I could not help but notice that one of his
Upper front teeth was of bright gold, while the
One next to the gold, was completely missing.

He nodded just once his head, to me a message,
All said with no words actually spoken,
“Today traveler,
I could have killed you,
Taken your woman.
Out here no one would know,
No one would have cared,
Not even the truck driver.
You are in my homeland,
I control it and you,
Today I choose not to **** you,
Tomorrow I might feel different.”

Then he and his unsmiling companions,
****** their straining unyielding horses,
to their left, galloping away in an obscuring
cloud, of yellow and reddish dust billowing.

While adrenaline turned my arms and
Legs to jelly, and shortly thereafter,
My stomach to sudden fits of
Wrenching regurgitation.

When in a few years I first heard,
That the Russians had invaded
That harsh unforgiving land,
I told a friend,
“Those fool Russians,
Have grabbed a fearsome,
Tiger by the tail, and that beast
Might just devourer them,
And not the other way around.”
It came to pass, I was not far off,
In my knowledgeable easy prediction.

The lesson I learned that day?
No matter who you think you are,
Or where you might come from,
What Nations impressive seal,
That your Passport reveals,
When you travel far and wide,
Trespass in another man’s back yard,
You best beware, of all the possibilities.

Upon our return trip the next day,
We took a bus of public conveyance,
Imagining perhaps there would be,
More safety in a convergence of numbers.


Over the centuries many invaders
Have attempted to subdue the wild
Land of the Afghans’ and nearly all failed.
A land and a people offering absolutely,
No forgiveness, not even to themselves.

Rudyard Kipling wrote of the British Empires brief
Excursions into that land, offering some sage advice;
“When you’re wounded and left on the Afghanistan’s
Plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to
Your God like a soldier.”

All present and would be conquers take note,
This remains Wise advice.  No one truly conquers there,
They just visit and bleed and then eventually go away,
Tails tucked between their knees. If indeed they still
Have one.
I have not collected many regrets, however as too that
Day in 1974, on the back of that battered old truck on
The plains of Afghanistan, I have one.
Minutes before those four threatening Horsemen
Appeared, I had capped and return my Nikon F camera
to its dust and water proof cover, when the incident
occurred, that bag and my camera were at the time,
snugly strapped to my back.
3.6k · Aug 2013
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2013
When I was young,
I chased only fun,
My head all filled,
with stupid.

I wrecked some cars,
Got into fights,
Broke some bones,
never learned my lesson.

There was back then,
A guiding Light,
That tried to shine
From within my Father.

He knew the ropes,
Had run the course,
He'd even been in prison,
But me, well, I was too
"**** dumb" to listen.

We butted heads,
The Old Man and me,
I remained too
stubborn, to heed
His hard won
Sage wisdom.

To me back then,
his words, sounded
silly, at my age then,
I reckoned I knew

When he died,
We all cried,
After all he was
my Father.
But gone is gone,
And I wanted fun,
Off I went to find it.

In a bar, the "Memphis
Star", A guy pulled a
knife to stab me.

In a full blind rage,
I triggered my hate
And stole that man's
Life forever.

All hell commenced, and
My Everything changed forever.

Now as I sit here thinking
Within this rank prison,
I dearly wish that to
My old Daddy's wisdom,
I would have devoted,
more attention.

Tomorrow mornin',
A Hangman's comin',
and at the end of my
own rope, I will be
surely hangin'.
Not autobiographical, thanks be
to all the Gods. But I have met
this guy. Perhaps we all have.
Some people can not get out
of there own way or learn
from their own mistakes
until it's too late.
3.2k · Dec 2014
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2014
Self Worthlessness is a completely,
temporary phase of human maturation.
It persists within the passing ignorance of youth,
And fades with the realization of eventual
adult wisdom gained over time.

The suffering within the journey,
Builds character and worth.
It's earned, not a birthright.
Inspired by the numerous poems of too many
bright and attractive young people, male and
female that appear here on HP every day.
Poems that reflect the profoundly sad
feelings of perfectly wonderful humans,
who will overcome in time, their momentary
predicaments of doubting their own self-worth.  
I have so often wished to reach out to them and
try to assure them that we have all been there.
Take heart, the journey gets better with age.
3.1k · Sep 2016
Three Layer Cake
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2016
It was my birthday,
Sixty Five years turned to grey hair.
My love and I, and two old school
friends on a breezy Fall day.

Over Tea and a lovely frosted
three layer cake, we cajoled
and joked about our age,
all turned senior citizens that year.
And yet in truth, we all agreed,
none of us had ever been as happy as then.

The cake was sliced onto china plates,
Each piece served flat on it's cut side.
I noticed something then as we all
took our first bites.

Our forks all started at the thinnest corner,
on the bottom layer's side, gradually
excavating the two lower levels of fluffy
cake, saving the best for last, the top layer
where all the sweet frosting remained.

It occurred to me then that indeed life
is like a three layer cake, the last top layer
can indeed contain the sweetest bites.
That rather than gobbling life hurriedly whole
it should be savored more like patiently eating
and enjoying a three layer cake.
It is not my birthday today but thanks
to those of you nice people for the good
BD wishes. It relates to everyone's aging.
More of a metaphorical assessment of
a universal theme. Actually, I'm a Taurus.
(If you know your signs, perhaps that explains
a lot about me.) :-) And sadly I'm well past
being 65.
3.0k · Oct 2013
Who am I ?
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
“Who Am I?”

I am, who I am,
Whoever that is,
Whoever I was,
Whoever I become.

Others try to tell me
Who I am or should be,
I try not to listen to them,

Because in truth,
As to who I really am,
I don’t actually know,
At least for now I’m not,
One hundred percent sure.

Is there a Committie somewhere,
That directs such things?
Purveyors of personalities,
Dispensers’ of intelligence,
Measurers’ of ambition and success?
How to look, how to dress?
What is too fat,
What's too thin?

Perhaps some kind of scale,
To measure up,
Or down too?

Maybe there’s some magic formula,
When Mixed and taken,
Makes us who we “should” be?
But then, according to WHO?

As for all those other people,
Well meaning or not,
How can they possibly know more
About me, than I do?

I am a Work in progress,
Until I fail miserably,
Or until I’m dead,
Please have the decency,
To allow me, to be me,
And the time to find out.
'Cause frankly, all your
Premature pronouncements
Regarding me and who I am,
Is some really boring ****!
This is for Alexandrina, Jamie, Michael and all those
many fine young souls out there, working through
the mystery of growing up and finding themselves.
2.8k · Sep 2013
An old Fijian Man
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
For several weeks,
I'd been staying there,
Near a tiny village
on a tropic Island
not quite a mile square.

Encircling this place,
water so blue and clear,
As to render you mute,
Even produce a tear.

Mitchener was right,
His tales were true,
The South Pacific is,
indeed heaven so pure.

The people residing,
Once fierce and frightening,
Even Cannibals they were,
Turned docile and friendly,
Embracing a perfect stranger,
Like a long lost, family friend.

Those native people,
to this very day,
Proved to be,
Some of the best
I ever encountered.

In spite of our
language barrier
One old man, age 87
Was in particular,
A special friend of mine.

His few bits of broken
English though meager,
Always delivered,
With the utmost,
Vim and Vigor.

My Fijian I must admit,
Was assuredly not the best.
But as people do in that
situation, we smiled a lot,
Nodded our heads and
Pantomimed the rest.
Though that sounds
a little convoluted,
Strangely enough it suited,
we seemed to get the gist.  

One eve around sunset,
This old Gent and I,
Sat side by side thinking.
Watching water and sky
changing colors,
Way out into infinity.

We stared in silence,
Until the sun did plunge,
Into the darkening Sea.
All alone, just that
Aged fellow and me.
Watching a sunset
Beyond supreme.

The old man stood,
Nodded his head,
Pointing with his chin,
In clear indication,
That I should follow.
Which I did without,
The slightest hesitation.

In no time at all
We worked our way
Round, to the opposite
Side of the Island.

Where upon our arrival,
At the edge of the water,
The old man squatted,
As both of us reclined
Crossed legged in the sand.
And in all that time, still not
a single word was spoken.

After some minutes,
As darkness descended,
Low on the distant horizon
An amazingly huge, irradiant
full Moon, began it's glorious

I had all my life,
Seen that same moon,
From places all over
The globe, and yet,
This one bright yellow orb
Did steal my breath away.

At that moment for me,
it was easy to see, why the
Ancient's held the Sun and
the Moon as sacred.
How else would a person
Living then possibly explain,
Such Heavenly projections?

About that same time,
the old fellow sighed,
Indicating his own,
enraptured amazement.

With liquid eyes,
He turned to me.
Pointing out towards,
That uplifting glob,
And simply, softly said;
"America, You own the Moon."

Even after my friend stood
And silently departed,
I sat transfixed, motionless,
Watching that moon to its zenith.

Where upon, sheer elated emotions,
Of this my journey of self reflections
Began to sink in and I started to cry.

There are times is one's life,
When lessons are taught,
When almost no words
need to be spoke

And the best teacher's are
our own Brain and Heart,
Comprehending, embracing
Life's numerous shared Lessons.
Three months in Fiji 1972
The week before this occasion, I'd
learned form the Fijian School Teacher
on the Island, that three years earlier
an American Peace Corps person had
come to the Island. He having been only
the 19th "White" person, to ever visit there.
This fact being dually recorded, assessed
and verified by recollections and "memories
of the Old Men" on the island. (memories
being their best calendars of noteworthy,
or oral historical events) I was then, the
20th such visitor recorded.

The Peace Corps guy brought a small
generator and upon a white sheet, hung
between two palm trees, a film projector
displayed the first ever moving pictures
many of those young and old 289 souls
had ever seen. Color Pictures of American
Astronauts putting Human Kind's, first
ever foot prints on to the surface of the moon.

"You own the Moon". Is how he saw
it, viewed it with his own eyes, perhaps
that was how they all believed it to be.
As in you go there, you claim it, just as
his ancestors had done 1200 years before
finding and claiming that little island.

No my old, long departed mentor,
we all own the moon.
2.8k · Nov 2013
Mother and Daughter
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2013
Walking into the Reception Hall,
they stole the show away,
A regal pair they were,
with a little bit of Butch
and Sundance swagger shown.
A confident air, not at all underserved.
Dressed with just enough elegance.

Their posture and hue ,
sleek and silky golden,
like a duet of Cheetahs.
Eyes alert and searching
for prey. Alert for danger.

Like a herd of antelope,
all heads turned to look,
The men perhaps out of desire,
the women staring envy at them,
Like the twin bores of a loaded gun.

Mother and fetching daughter,
From twenty feet, hard to tell
which, one was one, or the other.
Long blond hair, full and fine,
both women tall, statuesque,
moving with grace and ease.

The mother my old friend,
the daughter all grown up now,
each having a smile that would
light up anyone's darkness of mood.

We greeted one another,
hugs and hand shakes shared.
A little conversation in the crowded room,
Many pairs of eyes upon us there.

Enchanted is the word that best describes
my impression, this duo as intelligent and
charming as they were beautiful to see.
The mother sedate, classy and yet open
and free, no pretense, no games just naturally
at ease. As lovely as I remembered her to be.

Her offspring, vivacious, spirited and bold,
smart as whip, with a tongue that could
draw blood if she desired it to.
Chatty and funny, sure of herself,
in the manner of beautiful people,
yet not in a pompous way, merely
Confident in self and her place in the world.
She possessed all the character traits you
would wish your own daughter to have.
Her Mother had done well is raising her.

Too soon they moved on,
meeting and greeting others',
out of my hearing and seeing.
Some weeks have passed, a month or two
and yet their strong impression has lingered,
I can't keep them out of my mind.

The Mother, my friend most of all.
2.7k · Oct 2013
Class Reunion
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
The years had not been particularly kind to her.
Too much sun, smoking and hard living I suppose.
Something else too, a vagueness in those once
Lively young eyes, a detachment, almost as if
She did not know me, had never known me.

I had come there seeking her above all the other
Old friends, I had wanted to share a final farewell,
A chance to tell her how much she had once
Meant to me. How long ago I had once loved her.
How still in the foggy half light of slumber I did yet,
From time to time dream of her, reliving the images
Of us as the kids we once were. Of the still stuck in
Time, romantic visions of her played out in my over
Active mind and memories of days long in the past.
Of our flower of innocents shared for the first time,
Of our naked bodies Entwined.  
Of an all consuming young passion,
Never surpassed or repeated in over a hundred
Relationships and two short term marriages.
So much to say and yet,

After but a few confusing words exchanged,
Consisting of words, that I can’t now even recall,
She turned away as if our meeting meant nothing,
Or had not even taken place at all,
Like two strangers passing on the street,
Exchanging but an abrupt meaningless greeting.

She turned and was swallowed up, lost,
Within the large Ball Room,
A room filled with many of our former class mates.

For a moment I felt empty and then overwhelmed
With sorrow, not for myself or my foolish expectations,
But for the lost child, that full of life young girl,
That 1960s Gidget, that Cute as a button,
Girl of such promise.

She that I had once loved.  What had happened to her?
Where had that girl gone? More than merely age,
We had all aged, something much more insidious,
What illness or demon had taken up residence within her?
What tragedies, what pain had she endured?
Even her best girlfriends reported similar encounters.
What was the cause? I’m sure I will never know.

Back in the day, living our collective coming of age
Shared life at school, it was easy to imagine that we
Were all the same, children of the hour, brothers
And sisters together, all alike, all the same.
But of course that was not the case, different homes,
Unique sets of parents, different private lives.
Divergent directions and paths taken,
Many years lived in between to make it or break it.
Some of us being more fortunate than others.

Never too old for a Lesson taught and learned,
Some memories will no doubt remain,
Now with no regret.
What once was can never be diminished.
I wish her well. I wish her peace.
Memories remain in the past for a reason.
Chapter closed, at long last no second guessing,
Time now to move on. . . Free to dream that dream no more.
A follow up to "Love and Passion Remembered"
2.7k · Aug 2013
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2013
Shaded porch, thick summer day,
Two old friends chat transported back by  
Shared words of youthful,
Enduring brotherhood.
Days they will never see again,
Still clear in their minds and memories.
In celebration of a reunion with ma' old
mate Mister Gebbie Summer of 2013  
A little something for you Marshal 'ol son.
I awoke this AM with these words on my
lips, funny how that works. The mind churns
ever on, while the body sleeps.
2.6k · Sep 2013
The Merrygoround
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
Man, woman, fear, touch, kiss, scent, taste, magical embrace, *******,
exaltation, celebration, emotional intoxication, tenderness, cuddling.  .  .

Fear, doubt, expectation, incrimination, inebriation, allegations, regret,
concerns of damnation, impregnation, incarceration, restraining order. . .

Reconciliation, fear, Man, Woman, touch, kiss, scent, taste, embrace . . .
And you know the rest
And somewhere in all that, if your lucky is a little thing called LOVE.
Finding, getting and keeping it, well that is up to the fates and you.
2.6k · Jan 2014
Rocks and Gods
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2014
Once long ago there was a small clan named Kah,
that lived in a cave up a draw, Who at that time,
had yet to discover even fire.

One among them, call him Shire was slightly
brighter than the rest, which is not saying much.

Bah the self appointed leader was a big strong man,
a hunter among men, a good provider.
But a fool in all other matters.

One day Bah returned to the cave with a large green
rock. A rock only different from all other rocks, by it's color.
Bah convinced most of the clan that this one rock was so
special that they all should worship it, get on their knees
and even pray to it, adorn it with bits of meat.

Shire too was a hunter, crafty and skilled, but also a thinker.
In the rock he saw no difference, to him a rock was a rock
and nothing more, although he did admire it's color.

"It's only a ROCK." He told the others and  "nothing more!"

The clan was overcome by anger, how dare this one among
them not believe as they did? That night and the next Shire
got no meat, nor any pleasure from the women. Yet still he
pointed out his belief, that the green rock was no different
than any other and he refused to worship it.

The clan turned their collective backs to him, treating
him as if he did not live. Even his wife and children.
Still Shire did not relent, so sure was he in his own belief.

In a rage of Holy Righteous Indignation, Bah picked up the
green rock and smashed it into Shire's head, caving in his
skull. Where upon the green rock broke into many pieces.

As Shire lay bleeding, dying, he picked up a piece of the
shattered green rock and said, "See brothers and sisters,
it is only a rock, and not a very good rock at that."

Bah kneeled down beside his old friend and he too picked
up bits of the broken rock. Then said to his brother, "I am
sorry I killed you friend."

To which Shire's last words were, "I forgive you."

The clan was so inspired by these events that a new
religion was founded, in place of the rock, the dented
skull of Shire became their new thing to worship.

Many years later, one literate among them carved on
the rock alter under the sacred skull,
                            "He died for our sins".  

And so among them grew a legend,
Shire became a God to his people.

Later still, another professed scholar calling
himself a Priest, carved a commanded message
in the face of the rock alter.
                 "**** not a Brother in the cave,
               before the eyes of our God Shire.
                (Out side however is just fine.")
This satirical stab, is the result of a misplaced discussion on Religion
with a friend, a thing that should be avoided at all costs, is always a
bad idea. To those die hard believers out there look away and forgive
it you can, another man's humble opinion. But I ask you, can't we all
just get along? Show some mutual tolerance?
2.5k · Sep 2013
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
Just how does one define friendship?
Oh, I already know what the Dictionary says.
It's far more than merely one word, or two.
You could apply many verbs to describe it.
Few, on their own will justice due.
It is more about one's emotional perception,
than a mere sentence of words, though descriptive.

For sure it's a feeling, a strong visceral response
evoked by respect, even love of a thing above all other's.
Friends come in many shapes, sizes and colors.
They can be inanimate or living breathing.

All inspire in us a near electrical resonance of reassurance,
a sense of peace, surely comfort. Maybe it starts with
the rhythmic beating of our own mothers heart,
the sound and vibration of our first true friendship.
A little later her breast and the nourishment it gave,
became our first outer world dearest best companion.
Mother's milk, served warm, sweet and tenderly,
Love's personification.

Yes of course Friendship can be an extension of a
strong lasting bond with other people, yet even more.
Our family's are our closest best friends, if we are lucky.
But what of the others?

I have been  befriended by books, movies, dogs and
many other non human living friends, I even have
a old film camera I packed completely around the world,
that I count among my closest companions.
A soft warm favorite wool blanket acquired down in
New Zealand, also fits nicely that same description.
An old bamboo fly rod that belonged to my Father,
Is a friend I would not part with for any amount of dollars.

And less I forget (No pun intended) our memories too are
right there, with the best and oldest of our dearest, lasting friends,
Conjured up at a minutes notice.

And perhaps last of all, (you may have more on your list),
I can not leave out the most important friendship of all,
It's the friendship we have with our selves, to which I'm referring.
For if that very personal friendship is not strong and on going,
It's truly doubtful that we will have, or sustain for long, any others.
To all who believe themselves "All Alone" and perhaps
2.5k · Dec 2014
The Dog Days of Christmas
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2014
The day crept by; we all held
our breaths.
Tip Toeing on egg shells,  
doing our collective best.
Attempting only forced
politeness and meaningless
small chat.

While avoiding the family elephant in
the room, our father's painful history
of attacking his kid's many faults and
failings, with his long history of aggressive
verbal abuse.

The tree was lighted, the room gaily
decorated with all the colorful Christmas
props of our childhood. Mom cooked her
best guess of each of our, once adolescent
favorite foods. My two sisters, my older
and younger brother and me too.

While Dad bit his tongue and tried to stay
hushed, as Mom had pleaded for days for
him to do.

Half way through dinner and a few Hot
Buttered Rums, the small talk turned serious,
and just like that, we were all truly back
home again.

Grown adults quickly reduced to sniveling
petty children sitting at their curl and
domineering Father's dinner table.

Old wounds opened and bleed upon Mom's
best-treasured table cloth. Food grew cold
for lack of interest, eyes flared and oaths of
profanity mingled with cheery Holiday Music
on the stereo.  Belligerence ensued and the old
man raged as one by one he verbally listed his
disappointments, at each of our many collective
faults. A string of loud insults and accusation
were exchanged and flung liberally about in
both directions. 

Judy's new husband took a swing at Jason for
reasons unknown, and the women protesting
their loutish behavior, separated them.

Earl and his small clan fled out the door and
drove straight back to Emeryville with not one
word of goodbye having been uttered, leaving
his kids Presents, behind unopened.

In tears, Sandy ran back up to her old room as she
had always done to escape, only to discover, that
it had been turned into a "Home Office/Sewing Den."
All her things gone to the Goodwill or garbage bin.

Dad went to the cupboard and got his bottle of
Scotch and the rest of us all quickly adjourned.

Mom started to cry and never quit.

The Dog Days of Christmas had recommenced,
and all the Kings horses and all the Kings men
could never put our broken Castle together again.

I donned my helmet, swung a leg over my Hog
and headed for the mountains, leaving Christmas
and all of them in my rear-view mirror.  

"Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men",
does not work for everybody friend. Hopefully,
maybe next year, we'll try it all again.
Not everyone has the good fortune to rejoice in
the happiness of home and hearth. We are all
different, come from varied backgrounds and
family situations. A conversation with a friend
was the seed of this write. Some are not as
lucky as others. And I think we can all relate.
Perhaps the flip side of what we imagine and
want it to be. . . Family stuff is complicated.
Repost from 2013 but sadly always relevant
this time of year, for too many of us.
2.5k · Sep 2013
Charlotte Gray Eyes
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
She comes many times
completely unexpected,
On padded paws,
Silent and stealthy.

Not a hint she is near
'till she jumps in your lap
and meows her first greeting.
Though so softly, as to not,
wake even a sleeping baby.
She is sweet beyond belief,
wants only to be loved
and give love in return.

She never insists like some
women I have known,
Rather she waits until
you're completely done eating.

Soft Hypnotic gray eyes
intense in their gaze captures,
at once your full attention,
Then gently she places her
tiny head right in your hand,
Seeking your touch of affection.

Her motor purring starts,
growing ever loud and louder.
Then she begins rhythmically,
Kneading your chest or stomach
with her front paws as she would
have done her own mommy,
But it' s not milk she seeks,
it is love from her human,
physical, emotional contentment.

She would sit all night,
in my lap if I let her,
yet she can sense when
I have had enough,
Knows when to quickly,
quietly take her leave.

Truly not many,
females like her.
2.4k · Jun 2017
Crimes of Shame
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
Bombs are falling in Aleppo,
the evil failed man that rules,
killing his own people,
Innocent noncombatants,
sheltering in their homes,
Crushed and buried in the
falling rubble of a dictator's
vengeful hate.

None but the volunteer
White Helmets digging
with bare hands to save
and unbury them, most
victims, irrecoverable pieces.

Occasionally, miraculously
some are spared and saved.  
Through these valiant selfless

Oh Syria, you are bombed and burned,
while the world fiddles an obtuse tune
and turns its collective back on desperate
human cries for assistance.
How much is enough I wonder, instead of
impossible walls to build,or immigration bans,
why not intervene to stop the wholesale
slaughter of innocent people. ****** on
this scale unchecked is paramount to a silent
shameful approval and moral surrender.
2.2k · May 2018
Stephen E Yocum May 2018
I dreamed of him again last night,
of how he always made me smile.
Over eight years a family friend,
his daily antics always on display,
morning and afternoon walks and talks,
his joyful baths in his small pond while
he playfully bobbed and dove beneath
the spray of my garden hose.

This was no human being,
a handsome Mallard Duck instead.
The self proclaimed King
of our barnyard clan,
always strolling and patrolling the
grounds, waiting for us, quacking
his greetings, excitingly flapping
his flightless wings at our approach.

His loneliness petticoat showing, he
followed everywhere, seemed to live
merely to be in our company, eat corn
from our hands, living precious minutes
of needed shared congeniality.

Two morning ago he was not there,
we searched and called his name
but he had completely disappeared.

A coyote perhaps, or bird of prey
our King taken and gone away.
Our lives are diminished by his loss,
Though only a bird, he was our
dear companion, a convivial friend.

I dreamed of him again last night,
of how he always made me smile.
Today I mourn his loss.
A tribute to a noble foul, if ever there was
one. Friends come in many forms and hues,
if one cares to see and embrace them for
who and what they are.
2.2k · Aug 2013
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2013
Reading the other day,
an article about some,
Renowned fellow's notion,
On the study of "Human,
Productive Locomotion".

A reputed Authorty,
of "Time Management",
His main proclivity being,
The belief in his increasing,
Other peoples productivity.

Modulating their all too,
common Human tendency,
For naturally wasting time,
and non productive energy.

Him asserting himself to be,
a self styled know it all,
Bonafied Expert in Efficiency.

Now I can see,
How it might be,
That this type of study,
Offers some relevancy,
For the Barons of Industry,
What with them regulating,
The flow, While streamlining,
and furthering the advance,
of all things, relating to commerce.

A purely Scientific belief,
For the primary benefit,
Of the Time Clocks sake,
And all those Bosse's
Emotional financial betterment.

But what on earth,
did that have to do,
with an old retired,
fool like me?  

What matter that,
I merely sit and think,
for hours at a time.
Read the paper,
or a book,
Computer chat,
or cook?

Putter in my garden,
Or gratefully just stare,
at big billowing clouds,
or rainbows in the air.

Or perhaps I choose,
to hug my wife,
Or chase my Grand
Kids up a tree,
Maybe grab a nap,
Or even take a ***.

Pet my dog,
Or have a Beer.
Watch the Tube,
a little bit,
Or congregate to meditate,
with a convivial group of friends.

Maybe take a walk,
Down by the river.
Get out my old,
Bow and Quiver.

Wash my car,
Cut some grass,
Go to my writing class.

Slip on down,
to the " Red Dog Saloon"
Where I'll promenade,
A little Texas Two Step.

Come home in time,
To unwind and,
watch some David Letterman.

What's efficient,
and what is not?
Clearly, that interpretation,
Is completely up to me.
No Efficiency Expert needed.
My day, my future is all my prerogative.
2.2k · Jun 2018
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2018
The aromatic scent
of Fresh rain falling
upon dry earth,
is the essence for
the continuance
of all life itself.
No other primal ethereal scent
is sweeter or more reassuring.
It lasts for scant minutes but
is recalled forever.
2.2k · Jul 2017
Of ships and families
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
She was no saint, no wonder woman and yet
my mom possessed some of those qualities.
A strong sweet person, with a loving heart.

My father was no fool, but with mom's quite
strength and guidance he was a better, smarter
man and family leader. This fact never more
obvious than after she died at 54 and he had to
cope on his own without her. A grieving man
reduced to a child for a time. He never fully
recovered. Rational decisions eluded him.

No matter how well it's constructed,
Every ship needs a good compass and
strong rudder and my mother was ours.
My brother and I though grown and
aging men, still steer the course she charted.
We never forget those that gave us life,
molded our values and enriched our minds.
Though many years may have dimmed their
earthly image, time can not erode their
moral teachings forever etched upon our souls.
A charted course we have passed on to our
children too.

For my big brother Phil.  In lasting shared memory
of our mother.
2.1k · Jan 2014
Precious Things
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2014
What are the truly indispensable things of Life?
Those meaningful, forever things,
Those enriching, soul sustaining,
can’t live without, nonmaterial things?
Those can’t reach out and touch them things?
The one’s that keep one breath following another?
Those things that foster the founding of religions,
Those that cause poets and writers to put pen to paper?
Of which most songs and music celebrate?
Those things that have forever inspired questions,
Without clear answers.
Those all so elusive concepts that only we humans pursue,
As essential to us as sunshine, air, water and food.

Those things that all humans spend
a life time in search of?
And far too many never find.
Those things that cannot be bought,
with worldly riches at any price?

These “things” I refer to center on matters
of the heart, and one's own brain,
These are the powerful, abiding gifts of self love,
And the bestowing of true love unto others,
And being the recipient of their love in return.
For without these indispensable precious things,
Though we possess everything else there is,  
We remain a mere, empty vessel for want of filling.
2.1k · Nov 2013
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2013
An online Poetry Site is like taking a Lover.
At first everything is new and exciting,
Our juices are flowing.
Our heart beats a little faster,
Endorphins abounding.
We romance and court her,
Our best foot forward,
Play to our strengths,
Beat on our chests,
Try to avoid foolish mistakes.

We get drawn in,
Dazzled by the allure of her attention.
We become intimate,
Embrace her charms,
Confide our inner most Secrets,
Whisper unashamedly our Fears.
But she can be fickle, change her mind,
Love us one minute, ignore us the next.
We invite her to judge us,
Then we resent the results.
We fight and withdraw, vowing to quite,
Then find that we are caught in the web,
And can’t follow through.

She commands far too much of our time,
We can even become obsessed, knowing
That we should back off, if only we could.
We begin to resent the time we spend with her,
And yet cannot get through a day without checking in.
In spite of our protests, when gone, we miss her.

So we nearly abandon old friends and family,
Preferring her company instead.
Lose needed sleep to stay up past three,
Just to hold her hand.
Hanging as we do,
On her every word.
Forget to mow the lawn,
Or wash the dishes.
Enthralled and distracted.
Neglect to shower,
Remain all day in Pajamas.

It’s a romance of words on a screen,
Not a living, breathing thing,
But even with this knowledge,
We can’t let her go.
Can’t leave it alone.
I know, because I have tried and failed.
And here I still remain,
Caught like an animal in a trap.
Or is it, a fat happy bird in a gilded cage?
Who would not know where else to go,
Even if the door were left open.

I am conflicted to say the least.
No doubt my need for self-expression,
Is stronger than my need for cessation.

We love what we do,
And do what we love
And **** the consequences.
The good part is, as far as I know,
No one ever got a social disease,
From Words on a computer screen.
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