New Poem – I’m Heavy When Wet

I’m Heavy When Wet
by John O’Brien, Jr.

The rain falls softly, winter has gone back to fall
The Bucks beat Michigan and the Browns couldn’t quite climb the wall
Leaves are so heavy, when wet – starting to rot
They once drifted so softly, swirling on my lot
Burning reds and orange are now sludgy smelly brown
The RA ache, keeps knocking me down
I rake and I stop, I rub and don’t complain
won’t be long at all, till snow takes the place of the rain
I love a White Christmas, families gathering and warm smells
and how carolers voices, charm the hinges off the gates of hell
Evergreen garland and the lovely white lights
children’s laughter peeling, and a moratorium on fights.
Empty trees will turn from scary, frightening on Hallow’s Eve
to breathtaking beauty, covered on a snowstorm’s canvas weave
Won’t be long now, I’ve prepped the hot tub and put away the hoses
winterized the grass and covered up the roses
Lawn furniture put away, taking the shelf space of tree bells and candles
warm winter boots, when my gnarled feet prefer sandals.
Yet there’s new excitement in the little eyes, as Santa’s checking his lists
the love that they freely showed me, made me gasp and eyes mist
They warmed my whole weekend, so unexpected, so affirming
so to wallow in pains embrace, leaves my subconscious squirming
Thursday there’ll be so many, gathering for Thanksgiving
– without my dear friends, life just isn’t worth living
We’re all just pilgrims, discovering new lands that are in our minds
Exploring for our abilities, reveling in what it finds
I too am sustained by faith, urgency in making the world a better place
days with hands of leather, days with hands of lace
For so much I am unworthy, and for your happiness I pray
so from now on, may all your troubles be miles away

Currently listening :
The Dawning of the Day
By Ronan Tynan
Release date: By 26 September, 2006

the Sons of a !@.$%^&*() got caught!

Yep, one of the idots who broke into the school where I work PT got caught (see yesterday’s blog to catch up).  He took the 4 foot snake from one of the classrooms and KEPT it – in his bedroom.  Seems he had a cage and food and everything already there waiting for it!  Smart one wasn’t he?  He sang like a bird (too bad the snake didn’t eat him, I heard they like birds), and fingered his partner.

Justice is mine sayeth the Lord, but still….

I know it doesn’t help with all the destroyed things.  I dropped over $100.00 today on new stuff, just to get thru a few days, until we can start to replace some of the board games and legos, crayons, pencils and coloring books, markers, glue, scissors etc.. that had to be thrown away. I am scraping up a bunch of chess sets and teaching the older ones chess, until we can get restocked.  It kills me to have to spend the money for the evil reason, but the kids can’t be expected to twiddle their thumbs for 4 hours a day either.

Thanks to those who are sending stuff to me, I REALLY REALLY REALLY appreciate it and believe me, the kids do too.

Happy Birthday Baby

I remember, I will always remember November 13th.

The Vacant Chair
by John O’Brien, Jr.

I asked her if she could go home or did she have to stay out all night
She looked at me kind of funny, her laughter peeled with delight
My heart broke in two and I can still freeze the moment
But a terrible devil had been born, it’s destruction to foment
We saw no sign. We were young, without a care
Now I sit alone at the table, ‘cross from the vacant chair

We struck up a friendship, there was nothing more at first
Yet every time we separated, I felt an unquenchable thirst
Friends grew to lovers, in body and the spirit
We finally faced our fate, no time to hear it.
We found each others joys, She loved the teddy bear
And she nearly keeled right over, when I built the vacant chair

She was beautiful, she was gorgeous. The kindness that I saw
How she left me after the night, and always in constant awe
I was never so happy, we traveled and we laughed
We danced and we sang, she was a master at her craft
I wrote while she painted, her skill extraordinaire
Poems and fond memories, engraved deep in the vacant chair

We never had such happiness, each was wide with wonder
That kindred souls found each other, amidst the din and the thunder
No children had we, tho’ in the thought we’d often revel
For the sickness had already started, the bastard of the devil
Waiting, throwing up, more chemo left to bear
And when the pain got too bad, I widened out her chair

Time slipped away, but the devil wouldn’t let go
The drugs and the treatments – rained blow upon blow
She fought it so valiantly, she cried that we might part
Then I learned that it was winning and a knife ripped apart my heart
I did all that I could, she loved when I washed her hair
Damn you devil, Damn the empty vacant chair

Day after day, yet her smile was still bright,
When I’d walk in the room, see her body there so white
She was home now, in her own home, peaceful here at last
We planned out her funeral, and remembered about the past
The pain and the fashion, were more than I could bear
For one last night, I held her close, as we sat in the vacant chair

I asked her if she must go home or could she stay out all night
She looked at me kind of funny, then laughed with remembered delight
My heart broke in two and I can still freeze the moment
But the terrible devil had won, death’s taking it did foment
We were frozen in time, lost, without a care
Now I sit alone at the table, ‘cross from the vacant chair
The time it goes so slowly, the moment’s hard to wait
This that brought such delight, now I’ve started to hate
How can it sit empty, when I am still sitting here
How can the crying stop, when every single thing brings a tear.
I miss you love, we were a once-in-a-lifetime pair
So I search out the polish. Lovingly, I caress the vacant chair

Sons of a !@.$%^&*()_

Sons of a !@.$%^&*()_

I have a part time job as director of a latchkey program (afterschool program).  The School got broken into and so much was damaged, due to the joy riders spraying fire extinguisher empty – all over everything.  So school closed for a day and we had a professional company come in and scour everything, but we still had to throw away anything and everything, so now the kids have nothing to play with (this sounds like Charles Dickens).  All the crayons, markers, coloring books, pencils, glue, scissors, board games, legos, lincoln logs – all had to be trashed, because we can’t have the kids breathing in the ultra fine powder residue that seems to permeate, after the cleanup was complete.  Microwave – tossed, Thank God the computers somehow were ok, the cost their would have been sickening.  I am soooo pissed, and disheartened.   The police have a pretty good handle on it and arrests will be made, but that’s not going to help my wonderful, caring, funny kids understand, or give them things to play with during latchkey.   Much of the common areas in school were affected but Latchkey got hit hard – and it is too cold to take the kids (K-7, but mostly K – 5th grade) outside. We were short supplies before, what school isn’t, but now we have nothing.  Yes, we will put our creative minds together and the kids have shown great resilience, helpfulness, patience and even character since it happened Thursday nite.  But I see their confusion and how their sense of safety has been blown apart, and I can only wonder why.
So today I will be going to supply companies and asking if they will donate relevant supplies to us.  I have been told by a friend at one of the largest office supply companies in NE Ohio that this close to Christmas, most companies are inundated with similar type requests, so the prospects are not good.

Veteran’s Day facts and stories

Veteran’s Day facts and stories

Rouge Bouquet

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day and commemorated the armistice that ended World War I on November 11, 1918. The war to end all wars.Upon America’s entering World War I several state National Guard Units were called up for service in France with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). These state units were combined into one division, the 42nd Division, also known as the Rainbow Division.
As a result, the “Fighting 69th” of the New York National Guard was renamed the 165th Regiment. The proud history of the 69th went back to before the Civil War and it was composed of mostly Irish soldiers. Notable persons in that regiment were Father Francis Patrick Duffy, Senior Chaplain of the 42nd Division; Major Wild Bill Donovan, Medal of Honor recipient; and Catholic poet Sgt. Joyce Kilmer.
On February 27, 1918, the 165th Regiment of the 42nd Division arrived for duty in the trenches in the Rouge Bouquet Chausailles sector, France. On March 7, 1918, at 3:20 PM at Rouge Bouquet, the enemy began an artillery barrage of the American trenches. One of the shells landed directly on the roof of a dugout in which 1st Lieutenant John Norman and 21 men of E Company were assembled.
The men were buried under mud, dirt and beams. Two men were rescued and five bodies recovered (thanks to the efforts of Major Donovan). The voices of other survivors including Lieutenant Norman could be heard from the dugout. After hours of intense rescue efforts, under heavy enemy artillery fire, the bodies of fifteen soldiers, including Lieutenant Norman’s still remained in the dugout. Rescue efforts had to be abandoned due to mudslides and enemy shelling.
Father Francis Patrick Duffy conducted Last Rights and the regiment placed a tablet at the dugout listing the names of those who died. Joyce Kilmer, the poet of the Fighting 69th wrote the poem “Rouge Bouquet” to memorialize the men who died that day. The poem was read aloud by Father Duffy for the first time at a special ceremony held on St. Patrick’s Day.
At the Second Battle of the Marne, during one mission at Muercy Farm, beside the Oureq River, in France, Sgt. Joyce Kilmer was killed in action by a sniper on July 30, 1918, at the age of 31. For his valor, Kilmer was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Republic. Kilmer was buried in the Oise-Aisne Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois, France.
The following is Joyce Kilmer’s poem for the men who died at Rouge Bouquet:

In honor of Veterans Day, November 11, the following is a story and a poem.

Rouge Bouquet
by Joyce KilmerIn a wood they call Rouge Bouquet
There is a new-made grave today,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth 10 meters thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
And fled away.
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugles sing:
“Go to sleep!
Go to sleep!Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;
Now at last,
Go to sleep!”There is on earth no worthier grave
To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
Smiling with their holy eyes
On this new-come band.
St. Michael’s sword darts through the air
and touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them stand saluting there,
His stalwart sons:
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
The Gael’s blood runs.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
From the wood called Rouge Bouquet,
A delicate cloud of bugle notes
That softly say:

Comrades true, born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
Brave and dear,
Shield us here.


After WWII, the name was changed to Veteran’s Day, but kept the November 11th date.

The Ultimate Sacrifice (from the Plain Dealer 11/11/06, from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs)
War:                        Total Service Members / Casualties:

  • American Revolution (1775 – 1815) 217,000 served 4,435 casualties
  • War of 1812 (1812 – 1815) 286,730 2,260
  • Civil War (1861 – 1865) 3.2 million 214,938
  • WWI (1917 – 1818) 4.7 million 53,402
  • WWII (1941 – 1945) 16 million 291,557
  • Korean War (1950 – 1953) 5.7 million 33,741
  • Vietnam War (1964 – 1975) 3.4 million 47,424
  • Desert Sheild/Storm (1990 – 1991) 694,550 147
  • War on Terrorism (2001 – Present) 227,400* 3,185 (as of 11/11)

*(deployed to Iraq & Afghanistan)

The freakiest history lesson in the world

Have a history teacher explain this … if they can.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln ‘s secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy’s Secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Now hang on to your seat.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named ‘Ford.’
Kennedy was shot in a car called ‘ Lincoln’ made by ‘Ford.’

Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

And here’s the kicker…

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.

the war that raged

the war that raged
by john o’brien, jr.

My Lonely prison walls,

I put them up myself
but when I look behind me
I see only open spaces, broad green fields
of France

I read your lips
for your voice is too soft,
too musical
to distinguish the high notes
the porcupine disagrees
and the cloths of heaven tread upon my dreams

Did you hear the epic tale
of the war that raged
inside the man?
I am he.
The clash of joint against muscle
inflamed secretly.
Espionage against itself,
a traitor in our midst.
And his momma cries.
Sean nòs, my lady, Mother Garten’s Lullaby.

And Doyle plays the harp.

I would drink the Harp
But its’ nefarious chemicals agitate the beast
and so it goes.
No mellowing to the wicked
And no wicked to the mellowing.
I am he
Caught in two worlds, at home in none.

My Lonely prison walls.