Foreign Correspondent

Some of you may be aware that I am in presently in Alaska. Actually, I am attending a wedding, but going about it in a very round about sort of way. There’s nothing terribly unusual about that, I suppose. Alaskans do it all the time. But it is unusual for me.

Yesterday I was in Wrangell. Has anyone else been there? It’s not the sort of place you just stumble upon when you are out shopping for fruit and vegetables. A friend had some sort of dental problem so we had to find him a dentist. There is just one dentist in Wrangell.

It is summer in Alaska, of course, and the fact that it is cold, overcast and wet does not prevent the locals appropriately observing the season. When we greeted the dentist we were wearing ski jackets. He was a big man with a big beard and big hair. He was wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. It seemed very natural. And it seemed that he was a skilled dental practitioner. The dental emergency has been resolved.

I met another young lady who ran a small health food store. I bought some nuts from her. She spoke very highly of Wrangell and its community. She had moved there from Southern California and had been made to feel very welcome in the community. She was quite attractive. That might have helped.

I asked her what the political flavour of choice was in town. “God,” she replied, “just have a look around you.”

So I did. Everywhere there were American flags and banners celebrating and supporting that guy from the ‘reality’ TV show. There were quite a few bumper stickers stressing the importance of building a wall. I wondered what sort of impact a wall in Mexico might have on life in Alaska. Perhaps they were lobbying for a wall with Canada.

But it was a nice place. I didn’t have time to check if the fishing is, indeed, great. Or if it needed, like America itself, to be made great again. It would have been nice to find out.

But we had to keep moving.

News from the frontier

I’m on a boat in Alaska. I don’t know why I’m telling you that, but I made mention of it a while ago and people asked for updates. I don’t know if those people really meant it or not. But this is an update.

It’s raining. A lot. Apparently that’s what it does here.

And there is a lady I keep running into that looks like Keith Richard. I am assuming that she is gay. I could be wrong.

That’s about it, really. There’s nothing much else to report.

I‘m not very good at being American and that seems to be what’s expected here. Even though I’ve been to America maybe 500 times I’ve never really got the hang of it.

This foreign world

This floating room

The tide it takes me to my doom

Don’t know my place

Don’t know the rules

A captive on this ship of fools

Golden Years

I am about to embark on a journey with lots of old people. Some of them even older than me, in fact. Walking sticks and wheelchairs. Maybe they just look older than me. I wonder how many feel older than me ….

Anyway, by means of bookmarking the event I dragged out part of a poem I wrote for Our own golden girl a little while ago working under the assumption that she would not object.


Golden years of fading fun
I’m old, I’m told. The setting sun
Is swallowing the final light
I’m cold. I’ve lost the final fight
Forever bold, I bid adieu
Somehow already missing you
A hand to touch. Your heart to keep
Hold me as I go to sleep


Beware of stuff that rhymes


I was reading another piece from Stella in which she describes (eloquently) her unrequited love for a poet. I thought it appropriate (though maybe it wasn’t) to deliver her a response by way of a warning.

This is what it looked like.


Beware the man with velvet tongue

Resist the love song that he’s sung

Ignore his deftly crafted lies

Repel his lips. Avoid his eyes

Look instead into his soul

Into the void. The deep black hole

He waits. He preys upon the meek

He hungers. Feeds upon the weak


Beware the poet, weary friend

Defy the trickster with the pen

Don’t touch his words,  don’t read his mind

It is a mask he hides behind

Don’t let the juggler near your heart

Don’t give the sorcerer a start

Don’t let the fraudster near your bed

Find a novelist instead



Life in the rear view mirror

I wrote something last night in response to something much better from Stella but decided to give it a little life of its own for no better reason than to show you kind people that I am still here (or that some of me is) and to acknowledge the reality that one day I won’t be.

At an intersection

On the highway

My reflection

In the mirror

Not unfamiliar


To something weird

I feared

In my dreams

But could not understand

Because nothing is planned

Or foretold

Of getting old

This consequence

Of being born

Suddenly torn

Between turning the page

Acting my age

Or pretending

It’s not ending

And driving on

Through red lights

And dark nights

To find at last

My own past

Coming back

To greet me

Waiting for the Call

June 20, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about having to wait. Who is waiting and what for? Think about how the wait impacts the character or the story. Go where the prompt leads!

(It doesn’t lead far, in my case. But how far can one be led in 99 words?)

She waited.

It had been three hours since she had hurriedly torn a sheet of paper from her dairy and scribbled her number upon it. And when, reaching out awkwardly and thrusting it into his hand, she had felt an electricity passing between them, as though they were exchanging atoms.

And now she imagined him sitting in a café somewhere carefully examining each digit as though it were part of a secret code. She pictured him carefully transferring that code to his phone and pausing to allow himself a moment to dream of a future.

For which she waited.

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