Saturday, September 24, 2022

Welcome To My Blog

 

To help you select the stories and poetry you might want to read, below is the list of all posts made to my blog since its inception. Posts are listed in chronological order from the first post made on April 18, 2019, until the most recent post (The most recent post appears first on the blog). Please browse the list of posts to find the titles that most intrigue you. Then do one of the following:

 

1.         Place the title of the post in the space beneath the header, “Search This Blog.” With regard to poetry, a post may contain more than one poem. You may have to insert the first two poems listed to find what you want. Then click on search. The posting should appear at the top of the screen for you to read. Or . . .

 

2.         Using the date a particular posting was made, go to the “Blog Archive” to the right of the posts and click on the particular month in which the poem or short story was posted and scroll down until you find what you would like to read. Please note that if you scroll through all the posts on the screen and don’t find what you are looking for, below the last post on the screen, on the right, are the words, “Older Posts.” Click on this and you will find the additional posts made during the particular month you have selected. Scroll through these until you find the story or poem you wish to read.

 

Enjoy the journey, as you read the creations of my heart and my mind.

 

Thank you.

 

Alan

Alan Lowe
Poet and Writer

slolowe@icloud.com

https://slolowe44.blogspot.com/

 

 




 

I decided to enter a poetry contest. But I didn’t realize this might become a team effort.

 

My wife got involved. And this made the process of entering . . .

 

 

A Contest To Remember

 

As I sat in front of my computer preparing to enter a poetry contest,

     my wife came into my den—my creative home.

She asked what I was doing and I said I was trying to select one

     of five contest categories in which to write a poem.

 

The first, “What Money Can’t Buy,” I told her made me think of things

     such as peace of mind, happiness, and living a loving life together.

She looked me straight in the eye and, with a wry smile, stated,

     “If you purchase the expensive ring I desire, you’d capture my heart forever.”

 

I took a deep breath before announcing the second category,

     “Unbelievable But True,” which seemed like a provocative topic 

     to address.

“As an example, my meeting you through a dating website was unbelievable, 

     but I never expected it would lead to a lasting relationship,” I must confess.

 

Before she could comment, I blurted out the third category, “A Very

     Special Year,” which got my heart pounding.

But then she rattled off a list of what should happen, including winning

     the lottery, refurnishing the house, and becoming famous, all quite

     astounding.

 

She looked over my shoulder and saw the fourth category jumping

     off the screen—“Reaching For The Stars”—something to aim

     for in life.

I said, “This is where I can dream of exciting goals to attain—retiring

     early, traveling the world, and not always having to please my wife.” 

 

She glared at me and commented, “I see the last category, ‘My Most 

     Embarrassing Moment,’ will make you expose something in your

     past you’ve been hiding from me.”

With a grin on my face, I replied, “I guess this is one category

     I’m not going to select for there are certain things in my past,

     I don’t want you see.”

 

 

Copyright © 2022 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

At times, we may be forced to deviate from the route leading to our destination. This can be troubling.

 

We have to watch where we’re going and pay attention to . . .

 

 

A Fork In The Road

 

We drove down Highway 195 on our way to Bridgerton State Park

     to celebrate the end of our summer vacation.

Our kids, Miller, six, and Sarah, eight, were out of control—

     yelling at each other and showing signs of frustration.

 

Two hours in the car had taken its toll on them,

     but this was where Teri and I had celebrated our first anniversary

     and we wanted to revisit the scene.

We hadn’t been back in years, but today was the perfect day,

     sunny and warm, to see if the picturesque park was still pristine.

 

Teri buried her nose in the novel she’d been reading at home

     and didn’t pay much attention to the road ahead.

So I frightened her when I yelled, out, “Oh, no!

     They’re doing construction, the road is closed,

     and we need to take the detour instead.”

 

“You’re not serious, Eddie? This could take us out of our way

     and delay our arrival today.”

“Well, do you have another idea—one that would keep us on track?”

     I asked. “Come on, what do you have to say?”

 

She didn’t answer and then Miller whined, “I’m hungry.

     I haven’t eaten anything since we left the house.”

“Well, reach over and get the bag behind your seat. Mom packed

     goodies for the trip. See what you can find, my little ‘mouse.’”

 

“I’m not a mouse, Daddy. I’m a roaring lion who wants to eat

     everything in sight.”

“Okay, but for now you’ll just have to be satisfied with what you find

     in the bag. Is that all right?”

 

An earsplitting sound came from deep inside him, as he said,

     “I’ll eat anything I can with the ‘Fork in the Road.’” 

His statement came out with such force, it made me shake,

     and I felt I might explode.

 

Had someone dropped silverware on the highway? I thought.

     Then what I saw blew me away.

A kitchen fork, standing under the stop sign in the road,

     seemed to be commanding us to stop and stay.

 

But then things got weird, as Sarah blurted, “Mommy, Daddy,

     look behind the fork. What do you see?”

Oh, my God! An army of cutlery stood at attention,

     armed and ready to move in our direction. Were we history?

 

Then without warning, all four car doors swung open,

     tossing us out of the car onto the ground.

The fork looked at its troops, shook in anticipation

     of its wonderful find, and motioned to them to gather around.

 

Not knowing what would happen next, we witnessed

     the strangest thing—salad and soup, meat and potatoes,

     and veggies galore fell from the heavens above.

I looked at my watch. It was dinnertime. The silverware danced

     and offered their service in helping us eat,

     in a momentous gesture of love.

 

 

Copyright © 2022 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Do you remember the song, “Growing Up Is Hard To Do?” Well, that describes my life.

 

My mother was in control. She thought I needed therapy, as you will see in . . .

 

 

Busted

 

Growing up

I didn’t know

how to please

my mother,

and this

made her

quite disgusted.

She gave me

a hard time,

criticized

my every move,

and told me

I was maladjusted.

 

She took me

to a therapist

and directed me

to do

what he said,

as she’d known him

for years

and considered him

a man

to be trusted.

So I worked hard

to become

the person

I thought

I should be—

a young man

who did

everything right,

one who

was well adjusted.

 

Under his direction,

he twisted

my mind

in ways

I couldn’t

have imagined—         

the object

of his efforts

to make sure

I was readjusted.

He made me

miserable

in ways

I hadn’t expected

and I couldn’t believe

my mother felt

with my future

he should be entrusted. 

 

One day

he asked

me questions

that made

my head spin

and I became     

overwhelmed

and flustered.

I couldn’t

understand why

I was here

and felt

his actions         

made him someone

who should

be mistrusted.

 

Not wanting

to continue

my session

with him,

I stood up

and headed       

toward the door,

with the courage

I’d mustered.

Then something

weird happened,

as he spun

out of control

and blustered,

 

“My being

your therapist

is all

your mother’s fault,

for she

encouraged our affair,

and since then

for her

I’ve lusted.”

Hearing

his words,

I turned,

smiled,

and said,

“I’ve recorded this

on my phone,

to share,

with the authorities,

so now

my dear therapist,

you’re busted.”

 

“But you can’t

do that,

my son.

I told her

this

should’ve come out

sooner,

but she insisted

that the past

be put behind us,

and I did

as she instructed.”

“You’re telling me

it was my mother

who made you

do this,

and you’re saying

I’m your son.

This is absurd.

I can’t trust

either one of you.

So you’re both

busted.”

 

 

Copyright © 2022 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Treasure what you have on earth. Care for those you love.

 

One disastrous incident can ruin the future, as you travel down . . .

 

 

Heaven’s Highway

 

     My parents died two years ago in a car crash on Audubon Parkway. They were both ninety years old and Mom had dementia. No other cars were present and there were no witnesses. The police called it an accident.    

     Our family fell apart that night. I was a mental wreck. I couldn’t focus on my job. At sixty-seven, I thought it was time to retire, but I was single and alone. I became estranged from the family. I haven’t spoken to my brother, John, since the funeral. He blamed me, as the oldest sibling, for not insisting that our father stop driving. My sister, Cara, sixty-one, couldn’t handle the stress and suffers from severe PTSD. She’s shut everybody out of her life.

     I had to do something to reconnect, so I picked up the phone and called John. Although John is my younger brother by two years, he is stronger and had been the glue that held the family together. The phone rang twice, and then . . .

     “Hello.”

     “John, it’s me Julian.”

     “Julian? Julian who?”

     “Your brother, John.”

     “Brother? I don’t have a brother.”

     “John, I know we haven’t been in touch for almost two years, but I’m still your brother.”

     “I don’t know who the hell you are. Why are you bothering me? I’m hanging up.”

     “John, don’t do that. We need to talk. John . . .”

     The phone went dead. What the crap, I thought. Maybe I had the wrong number. John wouldn’t act that way. We were close before the accident—talked at least once a week. So I dialed his number again.

     The phone kept ringing and then a recorded message blew me away. “You’ve reached the castle of John Kingston. His Royal Highness is not available. As a subservient being, pray for his attention, and leave your phone number and request for his consideration.”

     I was speechless. Had John lost his mind? I hung up the phone and stood staring off into space with my mouth hanging open.

     Three days went by and I felt miserable. Do I dare try to call John again? I wondered.

     I believed I had to, so I dialed his number. Nobody answered. I started to hang up, when I heard . . .

     “You have reached the Kingston’s Diner takeout message line. We are happy to serve you. Please leave your name and phone number and we will contact you shortly to take your order.”

     I didn’t know how to respond. This phone message was more confusing than the first one, since John closed the diner just after our parents’ death. I held my head in my hands and tears flowed from my eyes. Was not stopping my father from driving something John would never forgive me for? I pondered.

     I needed to talk to him to make this right. But how could I do this, if he continued to avoid my calls? My life was a mess and I couldn’t straighten it out alone. Another week passed and I mustered up the courage to make one more call. If it wasn’t successful, I had no idea what I’d do next.

     The phone rang and rang and rang. I was about to hang up, and then I heard a click and . . . “This call has been forwarded to the Friendly Acres Mortuary. We are sad to tell you that the party you are trying to reach has passed away. Please accept our condolences.”

     The phone fell out of my hand onto the floor. Oh, my God! My brother, John, is dead. But when did he die? And How? The only way I was going to find out was to call the mortuary, so I went online and looked up the number and punched it in. It rang twice and . . .

     “Friendly Acres Mortuary, how can I help you?”

     “My name is Julian Kingston and I’m trying to find out how my brother John died.”

     “Please hold for a minute, while I transfer you to the Funeral Director.”

     “Okay.”

     “This is Martin Caldwell. How can I be of service?”

     “My name is Julian Kingston. My brother John passed away and I’d like to know the cause of death.”

     “Uh, Mr. Kingston, I’m afraid you’ll have to contact the police for that information.”

     “The police?”

     “Yes, the police. I’m not able to tell you anything more about his death.”

     “All right. Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Caldwell. Goodbye.”

     Puzzled and unnerved by not being able to get the answers I needed, I went back online and got the phone number for the police department. I dialed it and a robust voice answered,” Willow Oaks Police Department, Sargent Kane speaking. How can I help you?”

     “This is Julian Kingston. I’m trying to find out about the death of my brother, John. Can you help me?”

     “John Kingston doesn’t have a brother. Just a sister.”

     “Who told you that?”

     “His sister.”

     “What’s her name?”

     “Hold on for a minute and I’ll pull up the report.”

     I shook my head. This can’t be happening, I thought.

     “You still there.”

     “Yes.”

     “Her name is Cara Remington. And the report indicates that she was his only sibling.”

     I knew I wouldn’t accomplish anything if I continued asking questions, so I said, “Thank you for your time, Sargent Kane,” and hung up.

     I was wiped out. My eyes were burning and my eyelids drooping. I looked in the mirror to see what was happening to me and . . . saw nothing. I wasn’t there. I gasped and looked again. This time, I couldn’t believe what I saw—Cara smiling. What came out of her mouth blew me away.        

     “That was some car ride you took us on, Julian.”

     “Car ride? When? Us?”

     “Two years ago. The whole family was in the car. And you were driving.”

     “No way!”

     “Oh, yes. Dad was sitting next to you in his SUV. Mom sat in the back, with John and me. You seemed distracted. By what, I didn’t know. When you turned onto Audubon Parkway, you lost control of the car and plowed into a huge oak tree. . . .  We all died.”

     “That can’t be. I’m still alive.”

     “Look in the mirror again.”

     “I don’t want to. John’s avoided me for the past two years and now he’s dead. And you disappeared from my life after our parents died.”

     “That’s what you want to believe. But look in the mirror.”

     I gave in and looked. To my surprise, our family was in Mom and Dad’s SUV, and I was driving, with Dad sitting next to me. Mom, John, and Cara sat in the backseat. Dressed in white, with halos adorning our heads, we glowed, while ‘Heaven’s Highway’ played on the radio.

     John chuckled and said, “I did what you wanted me to do, big brother. I kept the family together.”

    

 

Copyright © 2022 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Darkness can be frightening. We seek the light and a path to a brighter future.

 

However, the road may not take us in the desired direction, and we 

find ourselves back in . . .

 

A Troubled Town

A Triple Triolet

 

The bright sunlight of a new day gave the troubled town hope.
It illuminated the colorful leaves of the tall trees to everyone’s delight.
If this portended the future, all the townspeople felt they could cope.
The bright sunlight of a new day gave the troubled town hope.
It seemed almost magical—unlimited in scope.
A rainbow of fall colors was a wonderful sight.
The bright sunlight of a new day gave the troubled town hope.

It illuminated the colorful leaves of the tall trees to everyone’s delight.

The fears of the past began to fade with the sun’s light.

Doors opened and people chanced to walk the street.

Some smiled, others danced, with expectations that all was now right.

The fears of the past began to fade with the sun’s light.

Children ran with enthusiasm, rode bikes, and one even flew a kite.

Neighbors dreamed of what came next and whom they’d meet.

The fears of the past began to fade with the sun’s light.

Doors opened and people chanced to walk the street.

 

A paradise sought may not be what was found.

An eerie darkness fell upon the town that night.

People retreated into their homes without making a sound.  

A paradise sought may not be what was found.

Doors closed, streets became quiet and dark—not a soul was around.

Troubled again, not knowing what to do, people shook in fright.

A paradise sought may not be what was found.

An eerie darkness fell upon the town that night.

 

 

Copyright © 2022 Alan Lowe. All rights reserved.