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Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
He came, reluctantly pulled by his head
At the hands of a masked man,
Using large metal,
Salad Tong appearing forceps,
Rudely, crudely yanked from his mother’s
Cervical embrace, into the glaring,
First Light of intended living and breathing.
His head now misshapen,
(To return to normal they assured,)
His little body more blue than pink,
Umbilical cord around his neck,

Absolutely ridged, not moving,
No sound did he make,
appearing more gone than here.

My own breath did cease until to my relief,
His tiny arms and hands did give notice
Of life, followed soon after by a fitting
Shrill scream of rebuttal, a rebuke to
The light, the air, the rude process
That had brought him there.

One moment at peace, safe and warm
Within his womb of tranquility, dreaming
Whatever dreams the pure and innocent's
Do dream, then abruptly ripped from
All that peace, out into all this!

At that moment I too wanted to join in,
Echo his howl, his guttural protestation,
I too swept up by that ethereal wave of disturbance
Feeling his struggle as if he was drowning in new found air.
For me, as if at this moment of his birth,
I too was being reborn.

My knees grew weak, I was for a instant dizzy,
I struggled to regain my own lost breathing.
Restart my own heart, fight back the water in my eyes.

I let go of his mother’s hand, she with eyes closed,
As if sleeping, exhausted from too many hours of labor,
My respect and love for her and her magnificent efforts,
Expanded then to boundless.

The tender masked women in white,
They with shining, smiling eyes,
Quickly cleaned, and wiped him dry,
Swaddled him in a tiny blanket and laid him into
My unaccustomed arms, and for the very first time
In our lives, I looked upon the face of my son.

At that precise moment, some purposeful mental,
Primordial emotional switch, was indeed flipped,
And I, WE would never be the same again.
For him at 40, my son, my best friend.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
Wing clipped at birth, domestic birds they were.
Farm and spacious pen bound together six years.
She a prodigious egg layer, Don her attentive,
aggressive defender.

Daisy one day predator killed,
old Don outwardly mourning her loss
became a very different bird. All alone
for the first time in his Duck life.

We opened his gate and let him free roam.
A lonely flightless fowl only earth bound.
All aggression subsided with no mate to protect,
he became more social, needing a friend.

Crossing the yard from the barn,
when ever he may see us there.
He hunkers down in the shade
while I tend to the garden,
him like a supervisor, chortling occasional
reprimands or encouragements, I can never
tell which. All just to be close to some living thing.

He will chase after wild doves that land near by,
sadly mistaking them as perhaps a new mate, they
fly quickly away, him wondering what social Duck
blunder he might have made.

When finished in the garden, Don and I to the
barn retire, I ladle out a cup of corn for his pleasure.
Then it's back to his always open pen where his
bathtub sits, I turn on the hose and his excitement
ramps up. Excitedly he squawks and ***** his wings,
jumps into the tub, dives below the surface, reveling
in the cool spray of man made current in his artificial lake,
and with our few moments of companionship shared.
Him doing what ducks do, for a while loneliness abated.
It's almost as if I can see a smile on his pleasant Duck face.

Most days he sits close to the chickens pen, watching
the laying hens, scratching and moving within,
perhaps wishing he was in there with them.
I fear that if I open that wire door and let him go in,
that those ladies would peck him bald or even dead.

No matter how much a lonely Duck wishes he were
a chicken, they remain birds of a very different feather,
and a Duck can remain but a Duck forever.

A thing we might all remember....
Unless you think this a tale just for children,
this real life lesson example, is actually universal.
Stephen E Yocum May 2017
Today was unusual,
while crossing a rocky
path, my 42 year old
son reached back offering
his hand to steady my
steps of progress.
A small thing at first glance.

When for all these years
it was me holding his hand,
guiding his path.
Age has intervened,
Now our roles have reversed,
as it does, as it must.

Accepting this reality
the only path to choose.
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2013
Once it was just an innocent pick and shovel,
not much effort not much trouble,
Populations grew and demands exploded,
machines invented, more fuel was needed.
Trees were cut, factories built, coal discovered,
Smoke stacks billowed, still it was not enough!
And populations doubled.
  
Holes were drilled, to reach down deep,
"Black Gold" they said would be so cheap,
light the homes and run the ships,
drive the trains and keep the peace.  
Still it was not enough!
And the populations doubled!

**** the Earth, she can take it,
there is always more to exploit,
more to shamelessly profit from it.

Deplete the surface, Oh hell,
just go down deeper,
Oil all gone, well how 'bout shale?

A little recipe for disaster:
Drill multitudes of holes miles deep,
inject under extreme pressure,
thousands of gallons of water
imported from some great distance.
"Truck it in, ***** the expense!",
Add tons of harsh chemicals into this
volatile, polluting mix.
Blast deep strata with this brew,
until solid rock does crack,
Shale into gas and liquid gold,
Then bring it to the surface.

Now never mind the consequence,
That near by ground water as it flows
from out of household taps,
can be set afire by just the touch
of the lighted flame,
from a single just struck match.

And those now huge cracks deep
within the mantel of the Earth,
what of them I say,
Well not far below those cracks
is our molten lava core,
Just looking for escape.

Respected Geologists warn us of the risks,
Triggering quakes and huge volcano rips,
Yet the Fat Cats and their government,
still assures us, "never mind the consequence".

Ridiculous yes, perhaps suicidal,
As if the Captain of a submarine allowed his crew
to pound large nails into the body of his boat,
To hang up pictures of the Pope.

Again ridiculous you say,
Who would do such a insane thing?
The same **** guys that once owned the crews,
that swung that old pick and shovel,

A father to son inheritance,
by the same thieves, that manipulate our economy,
Riding the Bull up Wall Street and back down again,
All at their selfish greedy whims,
Never considering their corruption as any particular sin.

Those one percent spoilers who generation to generation,
continue to profit from their latest Big Business Gyration.
Even inventing a new name for this particular indiscretion,
Never even wincing, they straight faced lie with conviction,
and say hence,
"Hey folks, it's called Fracking, and you shouldn't mind
the consequence", 

So, it's profits over common sense,
The Fat Cats win again?  
My response to that,
Perhaps someone should FRACK them!

Now as to this just read little parable,
Less you dismiss it as some environmental fable.
The moral here is,
You glutinous greedy Big Oil Boys,
need to push back from the table!
A citizen lament for our Mother Earth .
Stephen E Yocum May 2017
I used to walk without a limp,
now it seems I possess a set,
first one leg, then the other went.

Then there are those day
or night urgent bathroom
calls, bordering on mini
bad disasters. Now that
never used to happen.

Even passing a little gas,
has become a risky business.

Up at least twice at night,
to pacify my bladder.
But thankfully so far,
my sleep *** Alarm
is still in working order.

I'm starting to suspect
that adult Depends may
be getting a little closer.

There are things I enjoy in this
human aging process, however
the annoying list of the above
items, are obviously not among them.
I jest a little, it's laugh at ourselves
or get depressed. It's all part of the
process. Going with the flow so to speak.
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2014
So simple life would be,
To walk the chosen path
Of such as him or she.
No regard for things of value,
Civility, Traditions or sin
And most importantly,
Caring not a **** for
The mortal encumbrances
In the forced companionship,
Of their Human Fellows.

No strife in seeking redemption,
No apologies offered or received.
Having not one speck of regret,
For their own moral misdeeds,
Living as they do with absolutely
No expectations of friendship or Love,
Or an ounce of human acceptance,
Given, shared or received.

Living a life time of this
Empty lonely existence,
Until the very end.

The lasting price for which,
Is the very path they picked.
Misanthrope: "a person who hates or
distrusts humankind"

We have all met one at some point in
our lives.  As they circled the drain of
hate and despair. The sad, negative lost
soul, malcontent that has given up on,
or indeed never had normal feelings
towards his or her fellow humans.
To them Life is just too hard, unfair,
evil is everywhere.

Some hide away in cabins in the
woods, making letter bombs to send.
Others fly planes into high rise buildings,
killing themselves to prove their sad and
selfish point.  Perhaps they just hold up
within their dark lonely apartment
watching way too much Reality TV.

In the end they all had a choice.
I bumped up against one of these "in the
making fools" the other day. I wish it was
not yet too late for him. Thus this poem of hope.
Stephen E Yocum Apr 2017
The long awaited sun is
high and pleasantly warm,
The swallows have returned
and all is well in my world.
Another brief moment in
time recorded. Spring at last.
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2014
I started life with lofty ambitions,
To do great things,
Without conditions.
Venture out beyond, ever expanding
and distant Horizons.
Seek out lands and people unknown,
Sail the oceans never sailed before.
Acquire knowledge I did not possess,
Speak in tongues not my own.
Stand upon the tallest mountains.
Jump out of planes,
With out my wings.
Ride a spirited horse into the surf,
Galloping that steed, along a beach,
in fading moments of yellow sunset.
Build a dream house on my own.

Cradle my child in my arms,
Minutes after his amazing birth.
Discovering Love that never ends.

Money never that important,
Seemed to come in spite,
Which was good because,
Ambitions do have a price.

With all these things I have been blessed,
And thankfully, I'm not done yet.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2016
Alone, the old man sits staring out the ***** window,
seeing only what was, looking back not ahead.
The clock is ticking, it is his eleventh hour.
In his last days, this was a man I held dear.
His plight in time, I and you shall too endure.
But, oh what memories sustained his breath,
his heart filled to overflowing. He died leaving
much behind and not at all alone, loved by many.
In his time, on this Earth, he did good works.
Stephen E Yocum May 2014
In silence I set watching you
From across the room.

You with feet curled up on the sofa,
Composed and calm,

Your sweet face in profile,
Bathed in a halo of light from the window.

It was a simple little thing,
Just two people sitting,
Watching TV.
Alone but together,
Sharing a moment.
No words were needed,
Contentment was ours.

I never loved you more
than at that moment.
For CJ
Stephen E Yocum Apr 2020
Oh, what I miss most
is the closeness and
touch of a human hand.
A simple thing, one we
normally take for granted,
like my grandchildren's arms
around my neck. Handshakes
or hugs in greetings or farewells
with friends, all taken for granted
for years, lost to us for now,
but will eventually return.
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.

                                    End
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.
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
Ascent.

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.
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2015
It seems a shameful waste of time and talent for good
poets and writers to engage in petty back biting with
one another on this positive and constructive site.
No matter how subtle you may think it is, it hurts
some people and serves no common good. We should
turn our energies to writing good thoughts and words
to the best of our individual abilities and cease and desist
in the ******* of "Mine is bigger than your's." Every voice
here has it's place, there is no King to crown.

Detractors and Hater's need not apply!
There is enough of that in the world already.
No soap box intended, but can't we all just get along?????
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2014
Another Day In Paradise,
The sun still below the trees,
Morning insects in full brigade
Buzz and bite our ears and face.
Walking a staggered formation,
Our eyes every where.
No one talks, we only stare,
Grim faced and scared.

"198 days and a wake up",
Keeps running through my head.
The air always, so thick and damp,
Lays like a wet blanket on my lungs,
Every breath takes more effort.
The Corpsman assures me,
"take some aspirin" I'd be fine.
Man, I hate this ******* place!

There are moments,
When beauty can be seen,
When the population
Viewed from a distance,
Seems less threatening.

If only their sing song high pitched
speech did not grate on my ears,
Like ******* finger nails raked,
Repeatedly cross a black board,
In forward and reverse!

The kids are kind of cute,
But always with a
Hand in your pocket.
Hell, even they got to live,
It's merely their Rice Bowl
Needing a fix.

I often wonder what this place,
might be like without the war.
How different it would be.
Maybe some kind of Paradise.
What the **** are we even doing here?
It's a complete ******* mystery to me.
No one ever bothered to ask my opinion,
I'm only a lowly grunt, not entitled to one.
A ground pounder with a *******.
Counting the days 'till I ******' split.

Emerging from the trees and tall grass,
Steps down into warm water and mud.
Another ******* rice paddy!
My feet are ****, always wet and sore.
My thighs and crotch forever in rash.
****, I do so hate this place.
"Hundred ninety eight days and a wake up,
On the Freedom Bird, back to the world."
Forever a mantra in my brain.

The ******* bordom is almost as
bad as the fear of being in the ****.
Those times are fleeting, over quick.
The rest is routine, a grind to endure.
Seems endless 'cause it ******* is!

Like the sharp crack of a whip,
One snaps past my ear!
Coming then like a swarm of Bees,
Announced by that God awful,
Chatter those A-Ks put out.
*** holes and elbows dispersed,
All of us on the run, looking for cover.
They got us boxed in cross fire,
No place to run, no spot to hide.
Hunker down in the mud,
Throw out some rounds,
And kiss your *** goodbye!

Return fire as best we can,
Spray the trees where we reckoned they be.
Mortars' now, crash and splash!
Earth erupts and mud explodes.
Some guy down the line screams in pain.
Dear God I hate this ******* place!

Do you ******* hear me God?
198 days and a wake up call,
And I'm out of here!
**** I'm only 19,
I ain't no martyr and don't wanna' be!

                    END


Jungles, deserts it's all the same,
kids pulling triggers and dying in vain.
When will we ever learn?

Sorry for all the usage of "That F word" but
that is the real deal among young Marines
in the field. Profanity is their punctuation.
Part of the swagger needed to pull the trigger.
A remembrance and salute to Veterans on their day.
May we find a way to end all war.
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2014
The sun still below the trees,
Morning insects in full brigade
Buzz and bite our ears and face.
Walking a staggered formation,
Our eyes every where.
No one talks, we only stare,
Grim faced and scared.

"198 days and a wake up",
Keeps running through my head.
The air always, so thick and damp,
Lays like a wet blanket on my lungs,
Every breath takes more effort.
The Corpsman assures me,
"take some aspirin" I'd be fine.
Man, I hate this ******* place!

There are moments,
When beauty can be seen,
When the population
Viewed from a distance,
Seems less threatening.

If only their sing song high pitched
speech did not grate on my ears,
Like ******* finger nails raked,
Repeatedly cross a black board,
In forward and reverse!

The kids are kind of cute,
But always with a
Hand in your pocket.
Hell, even they got to live,
It's merely their Rice Bowl
Needing a fix.

I often wonder what this place,
might be like without the war.
How different it would be.
Maybe some kind of Paradise.
What the **** are we even doing here?
It's a complete ******* mystery to me.
No one ever bothered to ask my opinion,
I'm only a lowly grunt, not entitled to one.
A ground pounder with a *******.
Counting the days 'till I ******' split.

Emerging from the trees and tall grass,
Steps down into warm water and mud.
Another ******* rice paddy!
My feet are ****, always wet and sore.
My thighs and crotch forever in rash.
****, I do so hate this place.
"Hundred ninety eight days and a wake up,
On the Freedom Bird, back to the world."
Forever a mantra in my brain.

The ******* bordom is almost as
bad as the fear of being in the ****.
Those times are fleeting, over quick.
The rest is routine, a grind to endure.
Seems endless 'cause it ******* is!

Like the sharp crack of a whip,
One snaps past my ear!
Coming then like a swarm of Bees,
Announced by that God awful,
Chatter those A-Ks put out.
*** holes and elbows dispersed,
All of us on the run, looking for cover.
They got us boxed in cross fire,
No place to run, no spot to hide.
Hunker down in the mud,
Throw out some rounds,
And kiss your *** goodbye!

Return fire as best we can,
Spray the trees where we reckoned they be.
Mortars' now, crash and splash!
Earth erupts and mud explodes.
Some guy down the line screams in pain.
Dear God I hate this ******* place!

Do you ******* hear me God?
198 days and a wake up call,
And I'm out of here!
**** I'm only 19,
I ain't no martyr and don't wanna' be!
Jungles, deserts it's all the same, kids pulling
triggers and dying in vain. When will we ever learn?

Sorry for all the usage of "That F word" but
that is the real deal among young Marines
in the field. Profanity is their punctuation.
Part of the swagger needed to pull the trigger.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2016
Dappled rain drops of sunlight
Upon my open window shine.

While out across the valley hovers
A rainbow of neon majesty,
suspended in thunder cloud blackened sky,
An optical trick of rain and sun.

From within the dense dark clouds,
Lightning bolts flash and reach the ground.  
The air smells fresh and of ozone electricity.
The hair on my head stands on end.

In wonderment and reflection,
I am humbled and transfixed,
by all that Nature is,
In this one small moment in time.
The descending sun turning sky and clouds
to yellow gold, evening shades pulling the
reflected glow behind the hills, into the sea.
Low amber light spilling across the valley floor
casts muted textured shadows, the loveliest light
of the day.

Doves still calling to one another, perhaps
discussing where to bed down for the night.
Peaceful voices of reassurance and calm that
always makes me smile.

In an hour, darkness will intercede, the clear
heavens will radiate and sparkle, stars much
brighter with but a diminished crescent moon
for competitions light.

In the coming darkness the night music of
crickets and frogs will begin to serenade
and as I recline in my comfy porch chair this
seductive creature orchestration, may induce
early slumber, so difficult to evade.

But then what better way to end a nearly
perfect day?
Today I turned 76 years old, a bit of a surprise even
to me. Spent the day with my family, watched my
youngest grandson play in a school Baseball game.
Enjoyed a fine family dinner, cake for dessert.
Watered my garden and played fetch with my dog.
Now as I sit and observe in repose this gift of nature,
I am a truly contented man.
(Written on the 15th of May, not posted until today.)
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2016
I know within my eyes you see my hurt, but
do you know my pain when you exclude me?
Throw me but scraps from this table of life.
Chain up my freedom, for you convenience.
With force, enforce your many rules, most
of which I am not aware of until you yell or hit.
I try so hard to please you in every way and yet
you treat me more like a possession than a friend.
Do you even know I would die to save you or this
family from harm, that is how I'm made.

Know this, my Master, for all the thoughtless things
you do, like leaving me in an overheated parked car
at the store yesterday, I, your ever faithful canine friend,
forgive you and always will, 'cause that is how I'm made.

Now can we talk about that new flea collar thing?
I hate to complain, but I do so itch!
Little ditty just for giggles. Yet ringed in truth.
If your's could talk what might they say to you?
Stephen E Yocum Feb 2014
The third day of sitting vigil.
He lay so still,
Eyes closed,
Shallow breathing.
How small and in repose he looked.
His skin taunt and sunken,
So pale and grey.

Long had I loved and respected
This grown ancient appearing face,
Now pain and sickness changed.
His hands barely covered,
With a thin veneer of grey skin.
The finger bones so plainly visible.
Holding his hand, it felt ice cold.

I had watched some men die,
Understood how sudden,
Death could come.
Eyes open and voice speaking,
And a second later, they were gone.
An empty shell of what they had been.

For days now family and friends,
Came and went,
Seeing no change,
Tired or bored,
Needing Nicotine,
Or food left that room.
And yet I stayed,
Vowing to myself,
That he should not die alone,
To be there to the end.

He had fought the good fight,
Fending off the inevitable,
Brave and stubborn was who he was.
The results of all that,
Turned his departure into a
Protracted reluctant journey.

He had not opened his eyes
Nor said a word in days.
Still once in a while a shallow
Breathe was taken,
And the Life Monitor,
Beeped and abated.

Alone in the room,
I said my goodbyes,
Professed my love
and kissed his forehead.
He stirred and weakly,
Opened his eyes,
The most he could offer in reply.

His eye lids fluttered twice and
One last breath was audibly taken.
74 years of living and just like that,
My Father’s worldly existence ended.  

The Heart Monitor toned,
A continuous flat line death song.
I reached up and unplugged it.
All these years later,
In my mind I can still hear it.

How brief and fleeting,
This gift of life,
Never to be taken for granted.
To a young person 74 years seems
like forever, take it from me, it is not.
I seldom ponder this memory,
I choose to remember my Dad
as he was in life, bigger than life,
my mentor, coach and dear friend.
My strong and some times flawed
and all too human Father.
And when I do, I always smile.
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
Notes on a IPad.  A rejected lover’s lament.
What she says and in parentheses (What she thinks)

Oh please tell me,
What will I do now that    
You have gone away,
Three days now it’s been,
Lost to me forever,

(And took my wristwatch?
Will I ever know,
the correct  time again?)

I gave you everything,
And you crushed me!

(No I mean it, the other night
When you rolled over in bed
You actually friggin’ crushed me.)

Our lips are empty now,
Of each other’s kiss,
Like our odorous love,
our bed sheets grow stale,

(‘cause you didn’t put them
in the machine, like I told you,
Before you walked out the door!)

Life can never be the same,
Oh, to end my terminal misery.

(I’m thinking that notion over.
Maybe this is a positive thing,
My parents warned that he was,
not good enough for me).

I walked alone, along the lake today,
You know, the place we met,

(All those **** Ducks around there,
really make a mess. Got that goo
all over my shoe,)

But I digress.

You are gone now,
My loving arms are empty,
Of your sweet scent,

(Of the Brute Cologne,
I bought you for Christmas
You ungrateful  Retch!)

My blurry eyes they do,
so sorrowfully weep,

(From all the pollen in the street,
God, I hate spring time for that!)

We were going to buy a cute,
Little yellow house together,
You vowed to love me forever,

(****, Now I’ll have to renew my
Apartment lease, and get a roommate)

(You PIG, did you ever in your life,
Put up a toilet seat?)

You left when you said,
That you never would,

(And just what the hell,
did you do, with my car keys,
I ‘ve looked all over the place)

Truly my broken heart,
My stomach aches
and pines for you,
All Love has flown,
Oh,what will, what can I do?

(Hm’ I wonder if McDonalds has
McRibs back on their menu?)

Ring! Ring!  The cell phone beckons.

“Yes, hello. . . Oh it’s you.
(You *******!)
What’s that you say?
You’re coming home to me?
Darling, that’s so great to hear!

Want to meet down at McDonalds
I think they got McRibs!”
To the "Younger" Lovelorn" set, those suffering from
broken hearts and thoughts of rejection, please pardon
the satirical reflection. I certainly mean no disrespect.
For I have been there. Rather my intention is but to
amuse and perhaps stimulate some mature reflection.
"That which does not **** you makes you stronger."
"If you fall off the horse, get right back on again."
"There are many other fish in the sea."
"If at first you don't succeed . . .
I could go on and on, but I think you know what I mean.
They did not coin all those little insightful homily's for
no good reason. The best thing to do, is not to dwell on
stuff you can't control. Hitch up you pants, and just go!
Perhaps ask yourself, will any of this matter in a year or two?
We have all been there. It's called LIFE and it mostly gets better.
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2014
It was an insect,
A fateful convergence.
A sting or bite inflicted.
Fever, chills and pain,
swollen arm all raging
within eight hours later.

ER and hospital confined.
Booked into a "Double Room".
Rather sick and needing sleep
I closed my eyes and let the
IV drip.

But this man, my room mate
was a chatty and popular fellow.
One phone call after another,
All recalling his medical trouble
in endless and stark detail.
Oh not softly mind you, at the
very top of his voice as if he had
very poor quality cell service.

And for two days and nights came
a seemingly endless stream of visitors.
As if it was some happy social occasion.
At one time ten people and kids on his
side of the thin room dividing curtain.
Laughing and talking, mostly all at once.

There appeared to be no rules on when
and how many visitors might be allowed.
And you would think by this guys popularity
that he must be the city mayor or some celebrity.

All these people could not help but see me
laying in bed, eyes closed attempting to sleep.
Must have realized that I was ill and in need
of quite rest, as they entered. And yet none
even lowered their voices.

Finely on the second day of this insanity
I rose from my bed, clad in backless hospital
gown and pulling my IV Stand behind me
pulled back the thin curtain pushing a chair
in front of me and sat down among them.
Saying not a word, just looking at the eight
people gathered there.

A profound silence ensued, all eyes fell on me.
"Well I guess you have not noticed me behind
this non sound proof curtain, sick and in need
of recuperative rest. And figuring I could not
beat you, I though I might as well join you."

Faces reddened, apologies were uttered and
within a few minutes the guests departed.
An hour later I was moved to a private room.
And now a few days later, I'm feeling much better.
I wish all this was merely made up.
It is not. What has happened to people,
where has even common courtesy gone?
Are people really that stupid?
And what the hell is with two bedded rooms?
With what they charge for hospital rooms,
they should all be private!
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2014
Oh look, look again on what we see,
Another war on ABC and CNBC TV.
Black hooded thugs waving AK-47’s
Jam Packed into little Pickup Trucks,
Moving in, onto Bagdad street,
It all looks so very familiar.

What is it with we Human Beings?
Why do we continue to do such things?
Back in my day it was Viet Nam,
The suits made a case for war,
And we young answered the call.
3 million Vietnamese and over 58,000
Of us died in that mess,
All for what,
A Civil War?
Not our business.
Profits for Corporations,
Big and small?

Who are we to Police the World?
Who appointed us to that dire role?

Then it was “Desert Storm”
And we mobilized all over again.
Rolled over the sands and those
Third World people,
As if they were not even there.
It’s said 100,000 of them died.
But the guy that pulled their Strings,
That **** fool survived,
To play again yet another day.

The peoples in the Middle East
Hated us for our intervention,
And began to sing songs of revenge.

Fast forward 10 years of hate and
Resentment and some of them
Flew our own planes into our cities,
Killed our non combatant people
Without so much as a warning,
And absolutely no remorse.
Stealing our national innocents.

Excuses and lies were made,
Fingers pointed in the wrong direction,
Now it was us plotting revenge.
WMD’s in the hands of a Mad Man
We were told,
“Get him before he can use his missiles.
Him and them,
That attacked our Cities,
Killed our people.
How dare they do such a thing?"

Once again our young men and women
Answered the call.
And once again over a 100,000 of that
Dictator’s people died, along with
Far too many of our own children.
But the “Lie” made some big American
Corporations rich beyond belief.
And gasoline went to over
$4.00 a gallon and is still ascending.

Oh look, on further study and investigation,
That guy and his country had no WMD’s
And indeed may not have actually been,
Behind The Twin Towers tragic end.
Afganstan “They” now too pointed,
That’s the backward 3ed world place,
Harboring a rich Saudi guy named Bin.
He and his gang, they are the ones,
Run ‘em to ground and break their bones.
Suspend our laws and stretch the truth,
Get it done, forget the price,
Break some rules and ignore,
Our Constitution and even our laws.
Behind closed doors, they whisper,
“Need more men, mobilize the Reserves.”
“The little people will never tolerate a Draft”.

How many people die this time?
We don’t even know the price.
It’s not yet done over there.
Money spent over 3 Trillion,
More than spent to fight
The entire Second World War.
Yes I said “Trillion”
Now how many new schools,
Roads and bridges here,
At home would that buy I wonder?

We left Bagdad declaring things “done”.
Installed yet another Corrupt,
Puppet Army and Government.
Like Viet Nam,
Our Generals all said we’d won.

Be it an Iraq or Afghanistan,
Who can possibly rule a nation of Tribes.
Of people that can’t even agree on the
Same shared religion belief.
People that hate each other more,
Then they even hate us.

No one but an iron ****** ****** Dictator,
A Tribal Chief who enforces his rule with
Corruption, Brutality and Death
Can rule such people.
Too long ingrained is their
Mode of hating and living.
Too clouded and old
Their desire for revenge
And corruption.

So add it all up, too many deaths,
Trillions of dollars spent.
And in the end, has returned to
Where it all started again.

Political deceit,
Poor judgment,
Or Personal greed?
Why do our leaders
Keep making the same mistakes?
I don’t have the answer.

If I don’t end up in Gitmo,
Boarded, with water in my mouth,
Or locked up in the Pen,
For expressing my own opinion,
Perhaps things aren’t yet as bad
As things could possibly get.

I do however regret that all these years
With we little people answering the call,
With all the fighting, waste,
Needless ****** death and all,
It seems to have been for nothing more,
Than the egos and stupidly,
Of a few rich and high born men,
Big Corporation profits,
And lustful greed for the all mighty dollar.
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.
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2014
Sitting on my porch,
A refreshing morning
Breeze gentling blowing,
Conveying aromatic scents
Of yard plants blooming,
The hum of fluttering Bee’s
Seeking Nectar among them.
The songs of early birds
punctuating all this convivial congeniality.
You can not purchase a ticket
to this particular show at any price.
Other than say,
An invitation to sit beside me.

Young dog at my feet,
Him with full tummy,
Basking in the sun.
I can almost see a smile on his face.  
Already he knows how to live.

There is tranquility here,
In my yard,
Among these plants and trees,
This grass so green, still fresh
With drops of recent rain a dripping,
The ethereal scent,
Of now wet earth arising.

No real need to go a traveling,
Far or even near a field.
I have almost all I need and want,
Right here in my yard,
on this porch of mine.

There is one other strong sensation here,
It is my feelings of utter contentment.
The simple things are always the best.
Another Moment In Time observation.
You youngsters may not get this one, it may take the
long view of life to impart this bit of simple wisdom.
Perspectives and those things that matter change
with experience and age. We all get there sooner
or later. Live in the moment is the message.
Actually no real need that anyone else should
get it. I wrote it just for me.
Stephen E Yocum May 2019
Begun with an inviting smile,
Followed by hand holding
and one single amazing kiss,
opening the very depths
of passions bliss.

Passions that lasted for
weeks, day and night,
intensely ethereal.
Consumed and blissfully
spent in passions never
felt before or since,

Marriage and two beautiful
children, house with picket
fence, all beget with just one
single awe-inspiring kiss.

We stand now in Court,
bitter and numb, you get
the house, while I get to
keep paying the mortgage.

As loving parents we agree
to share custody of our kids.
While each one of us struggles
to survive the crushing aftermath
of all this.

Hard to imagine now that
all these flames of love and
pain were ignited with but
a simple smile and a single
amazing kiss.
Life and Relationships
are complicated. Do we
fall in love or does love
fall on us? Some of both
it seems.
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2014
I walk with a limp now,
Two of them in fact,
When I used to glide,
The strut of youth,
Was on my side.

Pain's now the game,
Moving more slowly
My worn knees are done.
The warranty you see,
has fully, finely expired.

Today they took MRI pictures
Of my knees, sized 'em up
For manufacturing,
A perfect, artificial fit.

Metal and plastic components to
replace my played out natural bone.
They assure me it will not hurt,
(Allegedly)  

Surgery they declare will,
eliminate the pain and put
a spring back in my step.

I'll settle for the absence of  
Pain with every step I take.
But, I'm pretty **** sure,
I'll never ever run again.

Even for we humans,
Built in obsolescence,
Is an unavoidable truth.

Man, getting old is really the *****!
Once we were gods,
thinking ourselves
bullet proof.
Played football,
jumped out of planes,
climbed, and skied mountains at will,
swam rivers and lakes, oceans blue,
rode motorcycles a hundred miles an hour.
Rode our selves hard and put our selves
up wet too many times, with no thought
given to consequence.
We were never indestructible,
we just thought we were.
Age puts everything into prospective.
Stephen E Yocum Apr 2019
In our life time
people come and go.
Our children however
come and never go.
Or so it seems.
A blessing or a curse?
You decide, for me it works.
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2014
Must be hard to be a full of energy young dog
that belongs to an old man with bad knees.
He always wants to play, sadly I don't.
Oh well, at least he gets plenty to eat and
lots of rest. Seldom gets too cold or wet.
And neither of us can complain of not getting
enough love or affection, 'cause that's what
we give and get. Not a bad deal in the end.
Another small observed Moment in Time.
Brought on by a long day hold up indoors
out of a black cold rain filled sky. In front
of the warmth of our hearth and fire.
When he can not stand the peaceful
quite any longer, when the Dog Gone Blues
get hold of him, he grabs a toy and runs
with total abandon around and around
the furniture as fast as his fleet Boxer Dog
feet can propel him, and when done, collapses
back down onto his doggie bed, sighs deeply
and closes his eyes, all spent.
"We'll take a walk tomorrow if the sun
shines young Tucker dog, I promise."
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2014
Cheeks wet with,
Mascara tented tears,
She aimlessly puts one foot,
In front of the other.
Down a path unknown to her.
Seeing and feeling nothing,
Out beyond herself and,
His parting words still
Reverberating in her head.

She had thought herself
Hopelessly in love with him,
That he loved her in return.
He had said so often,
Yes granted, whispered
mostly in passion,
In the sweet hot darkness,
Of her bed.

He was everything she had
Ever longed for,
The answer to all her dreams,
She had given herself completely
Never one thought of regret.

He had painted such beautiful
pictures of all that lay ahead.
God knows he is a gifted talker,
Could no doubt charm,
Birds down off their perch.

She'd had boyfriends and lovers,
Yet never one like him.
She was hearing the footfalls
Of aging fast approaching,
Yet still just twenty six.
By now most of her girlfriends
Were well married,
Some mothers
Of long standing,
Home owners,
Driving a van.
Grown to adults,
Living in a grownup's world.

Dark thoughts started,
To invade her mind,
This was not the first time.

How might she do it,
End this pain?
She had no gun to do the thing.
A rope, a tree perhaps?
Maybe some pills would do the trick.
These thoughts again considered,
Only made her sick.

Why had she given him such power,
Over her mind, heart and soul?
Why had she been so silly,
To have swallowed his line of ****,
Lies that took over her very being.
With visions that could never fit.

Then she began to laugh at the
words he'd used as explanation.
"Truly Dear Girl it's not you,
It's me, I just do not deserve you."

She then stopped,
And smiled,
"You *******,
At least that final line of yours,
Was the only true one,
You've ever spoken.
I know my worth,
I am too good for you!
And It's your loss,
You insufferable *****!"

She turned, lifted her head,
Straightened her shoulders
And walked purposely out,
Of the darkening forest.
A smiling face, still streaked
with trails of now dry mascara.
A female HP friend of mine suggested that I repost this 2014
poem. Thus here goes.
Stephen E Yocum May 2016
Cheeks wet with,
Mascara tented tears,
She aimlessly puts one foot,
In front of the other.
Down a path unknown to her.
Seeing and feeling nothing,
Out beyond herself and,
His parting words still
Reverberating in her head.

She had thought herself
Hopelessly in love with him,
That he loved her in return.
He had said so often,
Yes granted, whispered
mostly in passion,
In the sweet hot darkness,
Of her bed.

He was everything she had
Ever longed for,
The answer to all her dreams,
She had given herself completely
Never one thought of regret.

He had painted such beautiful
pictures of all that lay ahead.
God knows he is a gifted talker,
Could no doubt charm,
Birds down off their perch.

She'd had boyfriends and lovers,
Yet never one like him.
She was hearing the footfalls
Of aging fast approaching,
Yet still just twenty-six.
By now most of her girlfriends
Were well married,
Some being mothers
Of long standing,
Homeowners and,
Driving a van.
Grown to adults,
Living in a grownup's world.

Dark thoughts started,
To invade her mind,
This was not the first time.

How might she do it,
End this pain?
She had no gun to do the thing.
A rope, a tree perhaps?
Maybe some pills would do the trick.
These thoughts again considered,
Only made her sick.

Why had she given him such power,
Over her mind, heart and soul?
Why had she been so silly,
To have swallowed his line of ****,
Lies that took over her very being.
With visions, that could never fit.

Then she began to laugh at the
words he'd used as explanation.
"Truly Dear Girl it's not you,
It's me, I just do not deserve you."

She then stopped,
And smiled,
"You *******,
At least that final line of yours,
Was the only true one,
You've ever spoken.
I know my worth,
I am too good for you!
And It's your loss,
You insufferable *****!"

She turned, lifted her head,
Straightened her shoulders
And walked purposely out,
Of the darkening forest.
Her smiling face still streaked
with trails of now dry mascara,
the light of hellfire in her lovely eyes.
A female HP friend suggested I repost this 2014 offering.

"It is truly a blind man (or woman)
that judges their own worth solely
through the eyes of another."
SE Yocum 1998

Brokenhearted lovesick pain is seldom a terminal ailment.
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2014
Behold the King!
The Monarch, he comes.
Men of High birth to bow at the waist,
Head down, avoiding direct eye contact,
Less the King perceive from them a threat.
Women of the Court a deep curtsey,
Eyes lovingly appraising and focused on his Majesty,
That he may appraise them in return,
Maidens in hopes of finding his favors.

Common people, to sprawl prostrate on their Faces,
Eyes always down cast, to never look upon his Royal Presence,
Thus in turn, never to be noticed by the King.

Alas, though commoner I be, I peeked a look and beheld,
To my surprise, the mighty King was completely naked!
Shocked even more to see, His Majesty publicly exhibiting,
His oh so, insignificant manly short comings.
That indeed, this so called Princely man was in truth,
No more nobler than me!
How strange it is to exalt one man above all others.
If by birth or some fame acquired. Skill with ball or
beauty of face, deep pockets filled with gold,
to worship one man above all others surely a
shallow human tendency of mortal disgrace.
"The Emperors New Clothes" being the seed
germ for this write. That and perhaps too much
actual personal observation of my fellow man.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2014
He lays there at my feet,
Deaf and nearly blind.
Wearing upon him
All the traces,
Of his 15 summers,
(105 in people years.)
His coat grown sparse,
A body gone frail and thin.
Fatty benign tumors below his skin.
A worn tired expression,
Almost always visible,
On his still sweet old dog face.

Yet there is something regal,
About this aged fellow.
With the dignity of maturity
He moves about his domain,
With a cautious measured pace,
And conserved energy suited
To the elderly among us.

He prefers one mounded spot,
In our yard, on high ground,
On the greenest grass,
In the summer sun,
That restores and warms
His old bones.

Diligently working the breeze
with his still receptive nose,
Sensing the things he can,
No longer see or hear.
Appreciating and feeling all
That he has left to him.
This likely his last summer.
And he and I both know it.
We two old souls can sense,
The end is drawing near.

I reach down rub and scratch,
His soft Yellow Labrador ears,
Tail rhythmically thumping the deck,
He succumbs and leans into my touch.
Closes his eyes and receives my love.

He is my son’s and grandson’s dog.
The first dog my son ever owned.
The companion that has slept
At the foot of my two grandson’s beds,
Since both of those boys were born.
Protector, playmate and devoted friend.
Without question, he shall always remain,
A most important part of,
This our own little,
Family Of Man.
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2016
His name was Bing,
one eye grey the other blue
an Australian Cattle Dog
the best I ever knew.
Cows or Sheep he was the man.
Nipping at their heels, heading
them where you bid them go.
Smart as a whip, quick as a bullet,
Work all day for a pat on the head.

One early day no Bing appeared,
Strange 'cause he was always the first
into the truck bed, first in the pasture,
first to work, the last to quit.

We called out his name many times,
began a search, buildings to barns, silo
to shed. In the center of a cut hay field,
I saw him, hunkered down not moving.
The boss and me approached and called
to him, yet still, he did not seem to hear.

At twenty feet he stood up quick,
turned to face us with a ****,
his eyes burned with hell's fire,
his muzzle and jowls were awash in foam,
his deep-throated growl a caution warned.

Not much doubt he'd been skunk bit,
was beyond redemption touched in rabies fit.
I was sent on the run to fetch
the long gun from the truck.

We approached him careful like,
I was still panting from my run.
The boss cocked the lever,
chambering a round into the gun.

Bing's eyes looked to be pleading,
as if to ask that we end his pain.
In his crazed anguished state,
he could have reached us in a flash
spread the contagion to our flesh,
yet through instinct or love
old Bing held his ground,
awaiting his inevitable fate.

I tried to swallow but had no spit,
and then the rifle thundered
and stung my ears,
One shot through the head
took old Bing's pain away.

The Boss, a hard-edged man of fifty
began to silently weep like a child of five,
the loss of his dog too much to abide.
I must admit my tears weren't far behind.

We bore him from the field
like an honored fallen warrior.
Buried him in the yard by the house,
He deserved that respect and more.
Over fifty years later and I still think fondly
of old Bing. His actual name was Bingo, but
we all called him Bing, either way, he did not
seem to have a preference, even a shrill whistle
of summoning pitch, would do to bring him near.
Unlike most dogs, he did not crave human attention,
he lived for his work, that was about all he needed.
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2015
I hastily entered the elevator,
my mind focused on my meeting
atop the 24th floor.  

Walked to the rear and turned,
putting my back against the wall.
The car mostly full.

She stood next to me, slightly in front
close enough that I could smell the sweet
bouquet of her body and hair.

More riders boarded the car nearly full,
She pushed up against me a little,
turned just her head and smiled,
apologizing softly.

Her freshly washed hair was piled up upon
her head, swept back on the sides,  up off
her neck, held in place by a pair of tortoise
shell combs, with but one brownish blond
stray lock hanging loose, resting upon
the collar of her yellow summer dress.  

A small single pearl earring adorned each
of her lobs. Her profile was enchanting, the
curves of her slender neck enticing, and inches
from my face. I closed my eyes and breathed
deeply her essence, just as the doors on the 14th
floor intruded.

Half the riders exited the car and though there
was more room, neither of us moved from where
we stood. I could feel the warmth of her body
on my right thigh, my hip, my chest.

The 20th floor was hers, the doors opened,
She took one step, half turned and smiled
at me, her eyes were of the deepest blue as
if lit from within. And then she was gone.

On two other occasions, I explored that 20th
floor, seeking by chance, to find her, without
success. It has been many years since that day,
and still, like a photograph, her image, even
her scent; earthy sweet like lavender in bloom
are etched forever into my memory.

And yet, I never saw her again.
"Ships that pass in the night", or the light of day.
It happens to us all, on the street, through a store
window, on a plane or train, people passing,
a quick glance of notice turned into a poem
we carry for perhaps a lifetime lived.
Stephen E Yocum May 2014
We fumbled some,
We Technology fools.
One more new thing
to sort out, and learn.
Then there you were
looking back at me
in real time,
Your face devoid
of makeup, hair a muss,
Still Beautiful as always.

My face top right,
smaller then yours, smiling.
Looking slightly embarrassed.
Hand holding the devices,
made it feel we were at sea.

How very strange and yet
wonderful it all seemed.
Some real 21st Century ****.
Star Trekking it, as it were.
Two old "Face Time" virgins.
Laughing and flirting,
like teen age kids.
From Old Dial Phones to Smart Phones
What a world this is.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2014
Impatiently waiting,
Sometimes pacing,
Like a hungry Lion
Expecting his meal.
Obsessed and fixated,
Waiting for the smart phone to ring.

And so it has come to this,
Desiring your voice,
And image,
At least twice a day,
Waiting for you to engage,
Our Face Time on a tiny screen.
Living on Love
Long distance.
For her that also waits.
We two at either end
Of 600 miles distance.
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2015
My breath like smoke
upon autumn's morn.

Into my boot chill water seeps,
the stream runs icy clear and deep.

He comes up swiftly, turns,
sees my fly and does reverse,
takes a pass and eyes the prize,
quickly I ****** back my line.

He is big and brown,
speckled and Steelhead sleek.
  
I cast again,
briefly let it float,
where he was
only a moment ago.

The silvers of his belly flash,
he rolls and rises
takes another look,
ever so sly and cautious,
or so he thinks.

Does this beauty not know,
I'm strictly Catch and Release?
My last outing, the stream
and he and me, perfectly symbiotic.
Briefly I touched his sleek body,
felt his power in my hands
then allowed him his freedom,
back into the depths of the stream
from whence he'd come.
For he and me,
a moment of elation shared.
Stephen E Yocum Feb 2014
Change, embrace it!
It's you knocking on the door
of new opportunities.
For her, that knows who she is.
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
Now the first leaves, golden,
Falling, fluttering tranquilly.
Breeze becomes wind,
A slight chill present.

Summer ending,
Fall in the air,
You can smell it, see it,
Touch it, even taste it.

Saturday, Freeway fills with cars,
Flags flying, team colors displaying,
Car Horns honking, people waving.

Mighty Ducks are beating their wings,
Getting ready, who could have known?
That Ducks having no teeth,
Could be so very ferocious,
Tenacious, combative, thrilling.

Tailgating celebrating,
Throngs of laughing people, moving
Pennants showing, blowing in the wind,
Through the gates into the huge arena.
Filling the stands, waiting spectacle’s beginning.
Band blares spirited tunes, people and
Students cheering, Ear splitting, the grandstands
Vibrating, spines a tingling, tension mounting.

Among great fan fare, the Gladiators emerge,
Regaled in colorful Costumes for combat,
Helmets gleaming in the sun,
Muscles bulging young men strut and pose,
In spirited pent up raw anticipation,
Soldier-players moving now as one,
As a well practiced oiled machine,
Each part supporting the other.  
Each knowing its own function,
Resulting in precise synchronization.
A time and place where boys become men.

Beautiful young women, under dressed,
Bosoms bouncing, pompoms waving
Add to the Circus flavor of spectacle rising.

Only a game? None in the bowl knows that.
No one cares to think so, it is more than that,
It is war, it is life, it‘s aggression without death,
It is pride without regret; it is a melding of hearts,
And expectations, of loyalties to a common goal,
It is a Saturday in the sun and fall air, a chance to
Yell and cheer for youth in flower, to feel and fear
An inevitable outcome not yet predetermined.
To ebb and flow all human emotions,
To hopefully all, end the day a winner,
Or perhaps display compassion for the looser.  
To feel alive, to participate in life’s cycle of living.

Football, just a game? Don’t you believe it.
For my old Coach Don Brown and all those good mentors out there.
This write inspired by U of Oregon Fighting Ducks Football. Go Ducks!
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.
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"
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
I reached the summit in time to see,
the grey of dawn just leaving,
The new sunrise begin to ascend.
The breeze, reborn, fresh as the day.

An Eagle soaring high over head,
spiraling on updrafts, master of the sky,
not hunting, just testing his wings,
apparently enjoying a little joy ride.
Oh what freedom that must be,
to fly like that as you please,
so completely released from gravity.
I watched him play, 'till out of sight.

Below me, on a ***** stood a
sure footed Male Mountain Goat,
Warming himself in morning sun.
Head held high, proud and alert,
eyes searching for opportunity.

Mountain Jays squawk and play
among the sparse trees below
my lofty perch, as if they too frolic,
in new day celebration.

A day ago I saw the sun rise from
the fourteenth floor window,
of my office building.  
That same sun, I now see,
from the top, of this mountain peek.
But it was very different.

Rather than fresh air laced,
with the scent of Fir and Pine,
It was the stale stink,
of cigarettes and dust,
Air pushed through a vent,
Resuscitated, recirculated
and processed, dead air resurrected.

My view East slightly obscured, by ***** glass.
A picture window that can not even be opened.
The Cascades majestically blue on the horizon,
The new days sun, resting on Mount Hood's shoulder.
A bright light inviting, Big and yellow, calling.

And but a day later,
here I stand, on Three Finger Jack,
Looking further East,
Breathing in this new clean day,
Taking memory pictures with my eyes,
Alone, but never completely.

Next time I will not wait so long.
Oh, if I could only live right here forever.

On further thought, after I'm dead,
haul my ashes up here, and leave 'em,
Sunrises and sunsets for all eternity.
Stephen E Yocum Mar 2016
It comes now without
preamble or announcement,
On the ending of the poignant
symphonic overture,
Or, the melodramatic moments,
of a romantic drama on TV.
A sunrise or sunset can do it.
A story retold with child innocence
recounted by one of my grandsons,
can bring me to my emotional knees.
My son calls it the result of my brain
operation a few years ago,
This emotional tearing up,
of my excess humanity.

I like to think it is a reward of sorts,
a blessing of age and well-earned maturity.
Sensing the end of the long traveled road,
gives my humanity, a focused clarity.
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2020
Getting on towards midnight,
my buddy signaled time for bed,
I let him outside and joined him there,

The stars were resplendent in their
clear heavenly glow, the moon
painted back lighted silhouettes upon
the lawn and shrubs, a gentle fresh
breeze chased the remaining 90+ heat
of the day away, musically rustling
leaves of the yard trees as it passed
through headed East.

The Orchestra of  tiny creatures in the
orchard and grass, were busily playing
their rhythmic nightly concerto, in perfect
harmony,  like the very heart beat of the
earth on which they abound in their vast
multitudes, echoing their celebration of life.

The garden fountain bubbled it's soothing
water sounds adding it's voice to the pleasant
cacophony of collective night music.

I was lulled into submission as the breeze
and the mood embraced me, and fell asleep
in the old comfy Mission chair from my den.,
now relegated to porch duty, My dog resting
in that chairs twin, beside me.

Around three AM the full moon rounded the
house and peeked under the porch, lighting
me up like an impertinent cop's flashlight.
Encouraging us to move on.

Tucker and I did then retire to our beds inside ,
blissfully at peace with the world outside.

"To sleep perchance to dream" ah, but there
is no "rub" here. . . Only peace and tranquility.
Another moment in time too
perfect not to pen and capture.
Maybe not for you, but surely for me.
(and Tucker too).
Stephen E Yocum May 2016
Started with words as most things do.
anger escalated to yelling and swearing.
She came at me, fire and hate in her eyes,
This petite little woman I called my wife.
Her fists pounding my face and chest.
Shocked more than hurt, I extended my
arm to hold her off.

No man could ever do what she just did,
Not without my strong physical rebuke.
Yet I turned not a hand to this woman I loved.
A day before I would have taken a bullet for her,
and now it appears she'ed **** me if she could.

How does Committed Love so quickly turn to this?
So it would seem, love is not even skin deep.
My father warned me of this fact, a truth
I refused to hear, and upon him I had turned
my back and chosen her.

To her disrespect and abuse,
I did what any decent man would do,
I walked out the door and never returned.
Relax friends, thankfully this is not truly autobiographical.
Yet it does happen all too often, just did to a young friend
of ours. Abuse is not merely a male disease. Girls and
women too, can and are infected. A learned behavior,
a sad family legacy passed down from damaged parents.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
Upon awakening I almost never,
jump right out of bed, as I once did.
Slowly I rise to sit awhile on the edge
of  my days desired intentions.
Stiffly I stand and tentatively step away
towards the bathroom to relieve my
most pressing bladder urges.

Those parts of me that do still work,
do now mostly hurt and that's for certain.
Like any other machine, my body's warranty
has long ago mostly expired.

When we old friends now gather,
rather than palavering about our kids,
our golf game, or our ******* Boss at work,
the collective commiserating talk always turns
to our individual deteriorating health matters.

How things once were and no longer are.
Our new hurts and concerns laid out in
vivid detail, what the latest tests revealed
and what the Doctor said or concluded.  
These shared aging complaints you see,
seem almost limitless and all consuming.

We become a little like a hapless clergyman,
preaching wishful consoling rhetoric to his choir.
Not one of us knows, or has the answers
to any of life's BIG questions and actually
never did.

Misery you see, does indeed love company,
talking and sharing seems to help I guess,
being the only real tonic offered or taken,
no prescription required or need be written.
For all of us, limping along through the
aging process. Nothing to do for it but
to laugh and accept it.
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
efforts.

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.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2016
Creation in a dew drop, seed to grass, sapling to tree,
***** to egg, to progeny. All is life, a pattern seen,
Continually repeated, yet never just the same.

The cycles of life do churn,
while time passes undisturbed.
All living things diminishing in turn,
until reaching our fragile, predictable ends.

Blue Orb Earth continues to spin and
creation persists, seemingly forever undeterred.
Stephen E Yocum Apr 2017
Early morning fog off the river,
crawling, spreading like smokey fingers
caressing the low rolling flanks
of the predawn valley floor,
No breeze to disturb the stillness that pervades,

The silence nearly complete,
but for the last faint voices of night
birds before sleep requires they cease,
Answered by the cooing calls of a
morning dove, seeking out it's mate.
One shrill voiced Whippoorwill competes.

The heavenly songs of flocks of geese,
high above on the wing,
moving in precise migration formation,
across the grey-blue sky.  

East across the valley,
in majestic back lighted,
rising sun silhouette,
the purple hued mountains
stand as a lofty shield,
stealing and preventing
rain to fall on the eastern desert.

This morning sight of rebirth and renewal
is never tiring for my sleepy eyes to view.
To rise so early, ah now, that is the challenge.
Again today an early purpose outed me
from my warm bed, the reward being
what I try to express above. Oregon
at dawn from my back porch.
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