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26 November 2012

Imaginary characters do what I tell them

It struck me today that one of the things I like about writing is a character you create can't do something you don't want it to do.

I know what you're thinking.


Maybe there's a literary type out there who cottons to the notion that sometimes a character just overtakes the story and the best the author can do is serve at its behest. That is all nice and romantic, but I also think it's crap.

Any time a character tells me it wants to do something I don't want it to do I just say "The hell you will" and the conversation is over. The story itself might start making demands, but that is different. When a story speaks, you are dealing with consequences of previous choices or undercurrents of actions yet to be made, ones you might not even know about, and you're a fool if you ignore the story when it speaks, but characters themselves don't know squat. Bitch slap them a couple of times and they always fall in line, even the strong ones.

20 November 2012

Maybe it doesn't suck

In a previous entry I worried that my Christmas short story for the year was tanking. I finished it last Friday night, let it sit for a few days, went over it, then let my wife read it. She liked it.

Maybe she's just nice. Maybe I worry too much. She is pretty nice though.

People not smart enough to buy Six Christmas Stories online
Which brings me to my quick little blurb for today. I promised in the entry I referenced above that I would offer the book containing my previous six Christmas stories for free in a coming day. Well, that day (days actually) is coming. This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. That means this Black Friday you can actually get something good for free. No strings attached.

Well, some strings attached. I've got three other books that I will be releasing in the next few months. If you've liked anything you've read of mine, stay tuned. I wrote my fantasy trilogy back in the early nineties. I wrote Boo Noon in the mid-nineties. The Christmas stories are examples of more recent writing, but they are short stories. Novels are what I love. That means my very best stuff is represented in the three novels coming soon. Look for them.

15 November 2012

Harken Harkonnen

street I know,
corner house,
canal, swollen this time in July,
threaded field of weeds,
strung telephone poles,
and this Sunday something new.

The sign aside the blacktop,
and that simple word -

No arrow pointer.
No declaration modifier
meant to associate or direct.
Just a word unbound by spin,
ink-dried and stationary on square cut poster board.

A lonely man's edict?
His invitation?
Free what? Free whom?
What compass point afix,
what landmark mark
make me hero to one . . . or many?
Where the bonds to loose, the despot?

Or is the sign a tempter,
a bid to unbridle my avarice?

08 November 2012

Free Boo Noon

Boo Noon wasn't the original title. I started with Blissful Misery. That sound familiar? This image on the right is one of many, many images AJ Bell came up with while he and I made were trying to translate Boo Noon into a graphic novel. Maybe one day.

Until then, Boo Noon is being offered for free tomorrow, November 9th, on Amazon. Give it a try.

07 November 2012

Today I whine, tomorrow I suck

Okay. Take a moment. Look to the list of books on the right side of this blog. There's one book with 6 Christmas stories in it. It's going to go on sale for 0 dollars in a couple of weeks. I'll let you know when.

The story behind the Christmas stories is that my wife asked me to write something for our neighbors a few years ago, something we could hand out as a gift. At the time I had this story percolating that incorporated memories from when my grandfather died in 1976. I was eleven years old. His death left an imprint on my life.

Anyways, I wrote the story, people liked it, and now I am writing a Christmas story every fall to give away to neighbors come Santa time. I've enjoyed the experience up to now. This year, anxiety is kind of getting the best of me.

I think I can say that, on the whole, I've one-upped myself each year. Some of my friends might argue. I have had some say that one year's was their favorite and then others that another year's was better, but purely from a storytelling standpoint, I think each year I have produced a better Christmas tale. I'd be interested if you can line up the stories correctly. They aren't arranged in the book in the same order I wrote them. Go ahead, when you get your free copy, send me a comment and tell me your guess as to 1 thru 6. (If you're reading this sometime in future and didn't get the chance to obtain your free copy I have a suggestion. Buy one. It's only five bucks.)

01 November 2012

Pippy Longstocking got a haircut

No, that isn't me, but I was close
I've been growing my hair out the last few months in anticipation of Halloween. Normally a clean cut guy, my hair was really getting wild. The end result was being able to dress up as Pippy Longstocking for a party last Saturday and then for work yesterday and handing candy out last night. I certainly got some funny looks.

So what is this entry going to be about? Halloween? Pippy Longstocking? Cross-dressing? Living in suburbia? Probably none of them.

The Pippy Longstocking costume took me back though, back to the days when I was a kid of nine or so. I have some great memories from childhood, and one of those memories revolves around summertime and a thing my parents used to do with my brother and I. Mom and dad bought this package of movie tickets where a mom could drop the kids off in front of a movie theater once a week in the afternoon. If I remember right it was on Wednesdays. Just like that, mom dropped us off downtown and my brother and I would enter the Murray Theater with about 500 other kids and watch a flick. Good old Murray Theater. An old school theater. You know, where if a tall guy sat in the row ahead you could pretty much forget about watching the movie. Gum under the seats. Sound systems that popped and cracked like campfires.

30 October 2012

Halloween repeat

Hollow Cavity
the rot of ages could not enlarge,
then and now no heart to know compassion.
I was that murderer, that blank stare,
the beast inhuman that villagers burned,
the tale parents spun for truant children,
the terror at night, her eyes wide and sightless in the dark.

I was the coward's knife from behind
tracing that second smile,
the hard unflinching fingers at her neck,
the menace in the shadows,
unseen, unblinking, unwavering,
waiting for the moment,
that instant of inattention she gave to me.

Your Kind buried me,
continues to bury me,
when you find me.
Yet somehow I am here.
Somehow I see you.


24 October 2012

Maximize your way to Hell

I was thinking today about the glut of things out there that can, somehow, if you use them correctly, make it so that every second of your day is productive. Make it so that people will take photos of you at various times of the day and insert them into PowerPoint presentations on how to be frikin' awesome. Yeah, if you will just download one more app you can not only solve the world's problems you can reduce the number of tissue squares required to wipe.
This occurred to me as I was reading a blog and then another blog about social networking and being the writer of today.

So, take this for what it's worth. I am well aware that I haven't made it to the NY Bestseller's List. I am not a household name. As Chris Farley would say, "Maybe I don't 'own a toothbrush,' and maybe I can't 'reach all the parts of my body,'" but I do have an opinion about this.

19 October 2012

Winter creep

I am warm.
It is cold.
Outside there the enemy.
I see it in the snow on the ground,
the gray filter of overcast
a blanket blue of varying hue,
crisp like celery,
ice breaking, snapping somewhere.

I am warm and wonder
what inherited guilt is mine,
like winter cold should rule
no molecule bound or slowed.

It is the season circle some progenitors knew

05 October 2012

I feel new again

I feel new again
the air tastes like morning
like AM sun shines clear and mild
bright heat a hint in sight
but not on my skin
meadow vision, pond
unspoiled nature now
here even surrounded in city
centered lower than that grasping tasker
that worry of my own
my ownership, what I own
what I wish
the flow downward to my heart
direction reversing
losing myself not finding
listening to another's wisdom
again, happy again
until I forget to remember.

20 September 2012

Free crap

Well then, last week's giveaway of free stuff went pretty well. I'm not really sure why something that was previously .99 cents and then is suddenly free should get downloaded so many times, but it did. And, the evil genius that I am, since I was giving away the first book in a trilogy, I hooked a bunch of people into buying book 2 and book 3. Suckers!

Anyways, I feel bad for doing something so underhanded, so here is a one-off book, Boo Noon, that isn't a ruse trying to get you to buy more stuff. Unless, of course, you think C.K. Edwards is a pretty good writer and you want to buy everything he has ever penned. If that is the case, well, don't let me stand in your way.

Boo Noon is a fun little thing I wrote a few years ago where you have a teenager who gets super powers and then is thrown into a weird situation and you've got all the attendant "who gave him super powers and why" questions. Give it a try. It's free.

And, my .99 cent book, Shadow and Shade, will also be on sale again for free. Both of these books, Friday only. Two books for the price of zero! What a way to start a weekend. It's like Super Bowl Sunday and a trip to Disneyland at the same freaking time. I might achieve sainthood with this one act.

14 September 2012

You drowned as a child

you drowned as a child
gone in my momentary absence
yet i see your end in my mind

such perfect blue that day, water so safe
saturated clean, chlorinated with Science

i suspect the surface rippled
your feeble attempts a
bob atop your end, a corked bottle
as if you were made of some other substance
than what sprang from my most earnest effort

i see your head, i see your face
breaching that blurry plane
blowing, inhaling
frantic even to the indifferent silence
the unseeable, inattentive air overhead
that precious breath you were, by degrees

i count the times i think you fought
the sodden sink set in your feet
in your eyes i see fear
the uncertainty, shock, surprise -
life was fair, full of love and friendship,
family, the strength of a father -
and then all these abruptly left you
to struggle alone against a foe
you did not know

12 September 2012

My Brother My Enemy

The third book in my fantasy trilogy is called My Brother My Enemy. It has been out there for purchase for a year, but the cover was simple black with the title. Here is another cover from Vladimir Chopine over at GeekatPlay Studio. Thanks Vladimir!

The first two books in the series, Shadow and Shade and Son of Memory will be available for free starting tomorrow and then going through Saturday. Pick them up. See what you think. And then if you like them, I will make you pay for the third!!!

Thanks, as always, for coming back to my blog from time to time.

24 August 2012

Time card

a cityscape and stories to invent
stories because they must be, stories
to thrum some surface
hid by wall and roof, shuttered window,
blind or closed curtain

stories in minds or
shut in hearts, stories
that happened or wait as wishes,
pure deeds
or poisoned needles set
soldering some mind,
calm eyes their windows that belie the violence.

all stories to hint at endless realities,
libraries of nonfiction filled by
books never borrowed or checked
enough to stretch a mind so thin,

17 August 2012

Free tickets

these free seats to a game I like so little,
puck and stick, blood on shaved ice,
the test of beer and steps a steep curve.
circle farm of fold down settees
most opposite empty.

I disparage not the play,
don't discount those skating arears,
the dread crawl of Zamboni I fathom,
if not the whistled icing
the roaring surge of stretched net.

It is, I suppose, what we know in youth,

03 August 2012

Did you hear it?

My uneven design on
wood grain diary.
Quester lines reached upward,
rose, receded in efforted growth,
pattern on time nourished
creep or crush, sprint, spree,
flight and flee, lines in wood were life.
Her remnant of chemical compound intake
such remarkable humdrum, yon
quiet being
once stood sentry
moved by my ax.

20 July 2012

Novels new

This book will end
my work of some days
meager collection of metaphor and simile
arks in story that rose and fell
shifted setting and by degrees
faded in strength.

You are derivative of other works, I say,
yet you will shine for some,
a fitting first for sequels spun in inkjet loins,
a child that will bear my name.

Silent, without voice,
but full of words, the riddle
I say you were formed in a thinking womb of months or years,

13 July 2012

Third rock

There is blood on the ground.
Every effort, every step
more than metaphorical,
blood of man or blood of beast
this year or last.
A boy's broken nose once
bent in neighborhood sport,
or a rabbit's full measure,
even now lost, forgotten,
locked in a dim recess
spurred once from predator appetite.

Drops or gouts
blood on this spot

06 July 2012

about a bus or a bad thing

run to me run to me
feet in frantic unison
a dry dark corner away from them
world watchers and world worry, our
illicit moment, an ill-timed risk assured

for your passion blinds you
to my reality
and so you are
or ever will be
in my mind and memory

30 June 2012

Lies, Marketing, and other synonyms

The Coke can his hand.
pop top pull of aluminum
releasing pressured smell
of that much-marketed name
half empty
half full
no dregs in the bottom
no winced-on aftertaste
just hint of lime or cherry
Prince. Pauper. Scholar. Wretch.
The red can calls.

22 June 2012

Love is a light switch

Love is a light switch up and ignored,
one-time feat where rooms are awakened,
detail in living made clear for a time,
fine furniture or trailer's trash
pushed from the gloom,
stained rugs brought to relief,
offerings to clean or further soil presented.

Light switch up to explore
when seeing's believing,

16 June 2012

That stringy stuff on bananas

my lunch a banana
under ripe to my taste
this once hung tuber in bunches,
yellow fibrous fruit
clustered in familied plantain.

you are mother to a well-hated hanger on,
that thin, stringy extra, neither skin nor flesh,
lurker, hiding on your surface in plain sight,
delayer of my meal as I peal,
tainting tweezer fingers with his white residue.

he is unclean
born of banana but now discarded
and I ponder -

01 June 2012

Parent skills

Warm in my bed.
Layer on woven layer - cover, separate me
from the cold air of my room,
insulate the bare skin I've shed to
while heard in the kitchen, after hours,
consequent flesh of my flesh whiles an hour to midnight
with a waiting wolf
perhaps, or a lamb.
I will know which when no harm is done
or blood blots her sifted snow.

I listen, tally seconds to a witching hour,
not trusting,
knowing I wound with doubt if lamb he emerges,

25 May 2012

Happy fun time

Life is the doublewide dirt track
atop which monster trucks travel.

We, we are but furry animals,
or insect life immaterial . . .
traction to Bridgestone rubber.

Every exoskeletal crust is crushed,
every chitinous chin held high
pushed down and down
to lay with they of warmer blood.

No help to slink in self-effacing silence,
all will know the roar and wheel
when the shadow oertakes,
when their end is the same.

04 May 2012


I usually write a poem, set it aside for a couple months, come back to it, mess with it, set it aside, and repeat the process until it is done. Not today. Here is one hot off the press. Heard the first line uttered by a co-worker and felt the poem in the words. So, this is definitely draft level.

Another week of my life over
in jest just office banter.
My week in review,
ticket in hand at some figurative station
waiting for conveyance. Some
mover and shaker outside, that motion

01 May 2012

Your guess is as good as mine

Her skin will be green,
her hair red like gashes,
her eyes a perpetual flash of distant suns.

In my mind only --
but it will be in a college hall or a country lane,
a city street or tree-lined trail,
like expected horror
hid by rocks overturned by my hand.

Surprise like birth before sex, the hallmark
an echo before sound,

24 April 2012

Cold expanse

Snow flow past needle greenery,
weighted branches reaching up again,
rejecting their burden.

Grave fill and unhallow make,
erase the granite marker

20 April 2012

It's Simple, Stupid

What do they say - youth is wasted on the young? From the standpoint of actually appreciating youth, maybe that's true of the young, but I don't think this applies when it comes to actually enjoying youth.

I was tucking my 9-year-old in the other night. The next day was Friday and he spent a minute telling me how wonderful the next day was going to be because he didn't have school and his friend was going to come over and they were going to download mods for a favorite game.

His dark room was the perfect canvas for what I saw in my mind as he spoke. I could only see the outline of him in the darkness, safe within his covers, but to my mind his eyes shined with the thrill of what would be. He could see the day like it was written in neon above him in the air. Fun was not just a concept to consider but a living creature of color floating above him, probably smelling of watermelon candy.

I think this will be a memory that sticks with me.

Such a vicarious joy that at the same time engendered a beautiful melancholy. Listening to him, I knew I would never be that excited to play with a friend or take a day off of work. I am an adult, and the complexities of my adult world are like weeds and thickets barring me from such simple pleasures.

My life is not joyless. Far from it. But a simple appreciation of friends and mods is like a ship that has already passed in the night. The ship was there once, a tangible vessel that could be seen and touched, but it disappeared over the horizon a long time ago. There isn't even a trail to follow if I wanted to reclaim what has fled.

But there with my son, it was like a window to my own past.

Which makes me question the veracity of the saying above. Youth is not wasted on the young, nor is it lost to the old.

Here's my effort at trying to coin a better phrase: the young bathe in youth; the old dry them off and sense the damp.

What do you think?

12 April 2012

American pastime

Red-stitched ball,
your history-written surface
of dirt and grass, saliva worked
by glove and hand,
encapsulates yon halcyon day
buried in Ebbets and others.

Round one-time emblem
of segregation,
race as well as sex,
summer divider,
the smell of the grass to beckon.
Your all-male clarion call
was like rocket ship and polliwog.

10 April 2012

Ruth Stone died

I just learned today that Ruth Stone died last November. She was a poet.

I love her description of how it felt when a poem came to her. She said it was like a thunderous train of air barreling down over the landscape, and she had to drop whatever she was doing and run for paper and pencil to be ready when the poem arrived. If she was too slow, the poem would pass through her and continue on, bound for the next stop, the next poet ready with pen in hand.

This is certainly an abridgment of her description, but it was this quote I was looking for when I found that she had passed on. Ms. Stone had a wonderful way of looking at the world, always from a new angle. Trite retreads of old and forgettable themes were not what she was about.

05 April 2012

Tree in my yard

I planted you with my own hand.

Thin like a finger and trace of green,
the image alone of climbing boys and tire swings
bent your head.
Your demand for water and soil was bettered for a time
by direct applications of miracle solution,
bought at a store
with many aisles numbered and labeled
by men in uniforms
who once swung hammers.

Some years later, I begin this annual thin.

03 April 2012


A friend of mine did something that made me laugh this morning.

At work today we received a gift as part of an employee meeting. This gift was in a small box. Instead of doing what had the greatest chance of yielding a firm answer, namely, opening the box, I wondered out loud what we were receiving.

My friend plucked the box from my hand, placed it against his forehead and predicted, correctly, that the box contained a pedometer. His correct answer was aided by the fact that he had already opened his box.

What occurred to me was that there is a whole generation of people who would be oblivious to the cultural reference my friend made. The name Johnny Carson is likely one most twenty-something's have heard of, but it has been two decades since Carson hosted The Tonight Show. So, recognize the name Carson, sure, but Carnac the Magnificent? Don’t think so.

30 March 2012

Midnight and time to dream

At night at times they shift in sync
like lovers dancing tango,
frenetic unison without purpose,
at least none known to me,
just movement to move,
soul windows with shutters shut,
darkness in the optic nerve halls,
yet inside such light and color,

28 March 2012

The best is all behind us

In the previous Page Turner (please tell me you read it), the issue at the heart of what I addressed in that scintillating essay was fear. At least, I posited fear as being the reason for the name Romeo disappearing from modern-day use.

But that was just some random idea that came to me last week, not related to anything having to do with my life. I have never been tempted to name one of my kids Romeo, not even one of my boys.

My theme this week is fear again, and I'm going to refer to two books that epitomize fear to me. If you think I'm going to mention Stephen King next, you're wrong. Well, actually, you would be right since I just mentioned him, but I am not going to use any of his books to make my point. Instead, I will reference To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind.

22 March 2012

What's in a name?

Not too many people name their children Adolf anymore.

Strange how a figure can come onto the world stage and do something that makes his name forever his. Sure, other people might use it. A quirky parent here and there might name their baby Adolf because they think the kid is ugly. Conversely, Mexico is chock-full of bearded men named Jesus, though I don't think any of those guys can walk on water.

Still, both of these names in most cultures are anything but de rigueur. One name, however, really does seem to have left the lexicon of proper nouns, at least when it comes to mothers having it inked on a birth certificate.

That name is Romeo.

15 March 2012

Harry Potter and Rick Deckard

One of these days I'm going to write a Harry Potter knockoff.

Well, let me clarify.

One of these days, I'm going to finish my Harry Potter knockoff.

I've got about 80 pages written but I've put it away in a drawer. I don't think I'm at the right point in my writing "career" to finish it. Note the career portion of the previous sentence in quotations. In case you didn't make the leap, I meant career to sound ironic, meaning, slapping words on paper for a living is still a work in progress for me.

Let me explain why I want to pillage the HP universe. It's not just for money.

09 March 2012

John Carter, Tarzan, and Paul Atreides

I will spend a couple hours tonight with friends watching a film version of John Carter, a Disneyfied retelling of a tale that fired my imagination when I was an early teen. Edgar Rice Burroughs surged in popularity back in the late 70s. I'm sure a fair portion of that was due to some amazing Frank Frazetta covers, but once I discovered Burroughs, I read everything he wrote.

And when it comes to Burroughs, as great as John Carter is, Tarzan was really his ultimate creation. This gets me thinking about iconic heroes and how to create them.

In my opinion, Tarzan as a character will live forever, and I don't know exactly how Burroughs did that. Sure, Tarzan was strong and brave, powerful, noble, but the same could be said for a thousand other heroes created by other pulp writers of the day. What was special? What set Tarzan apart? Was it story? Prose? Setting? Character?

Burroughs himself wasn't necessarily a careful writer, not a master, one who ever improved his craft. He wrote pulp. He followed a template and, among other things, relied far too heavily on coincidence in his storytelling.

But the guy came up with Tarzan.

08 March 2012

Subway soliloquy

You are behind that counter,
your canvas – pastrami, provolone, salt and pepper,
these your fleeting tools, as I suppose,
like New Years pull poppers used and forgotten.
Surely the learned setting outside is your playground.

Behind that counter now, a way station of necessity,
smoke of engines soon departing obscure all but now,
yet in your future, I sense the tasseled-hat adieu to lunchmeats.

02 March 2012


Is it possible to consider any negative thing and, depending on your point-of-view, see it differently? Take a bad thing, take a "worst" thing, look at it from one side and then another, and tell me that it doesn't change.

Depression seems to follow that line for me.

Does life ever seem an utter waste? Sling whatever logic you wish, the feeling is low, there in your chest, an ever sinking pressure that nothing you ever do will make a difference, nothing you've ever done has mattered, and that life will end today or fifty years from now and the only thing that might change is the length of your obituary.

That is depression from one angle. Look to your wonderful family, a job that provides a living, a talent that might one day provide a better living, even faith in a benevolent God. Make a list as long as you wish, it doesn't matter, emotion and logic live in different area codes.

29 February 2012

About a brother

The photo spurs the memory,
the impression, of who he was
or who I thought he was.
Such errant boyhood innocence,
overlarge front teeth to be grown into.
His ears were handles, prepubescent
road signs of development,
of wait and see,
watch and wonder.
In my mind he is thin like Youth
because he was young.
Bookend to his family,
sprite of fun flitting from
one memory-in-making to another,
a tattoo inside of me,
ink in my brain of joyful prank,
of fruit-stained rocks and grid-iron screams.

23 February 2012

Cross your legs

I am told that once upon a time there was a simple, straightforward way to get your name associated with a book on the NY Times' Best Sellers list.

The first thing to do was . . . drumroll . . . write a good book.Then, all you needed to do was get an editor interested in your stuff, or get an agent get an editor interested in your stuff, and then you'd get a big advance, which meant the publisher would push your book hard, and if the publisher pushed your book hard, you had a good chance of getting your name on that sexy NY list. All you had to do was write. That was the template for success once upon a time. Or so I've heard.

Reminds me of Route 66 and it's demise.

15 February 2012

To Bay or not to Bay

Poor Michael Bay gets a bad rap for throwing lots of nonsensical explosions, gunfire, and hot women with nothing to say into just about every scene he shoots (no pun intended). For all his critics, Bay is frequently seen laughing in the deposit line at the local bank. And can you blame him? If you happened upon a golden goose that pooped 100 million dollar eggs so long as you fed it a specific diet, would you do any different?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I was thinking about this over the weekend while I was writing a scene where some of my characters were in a Starbucks talking over coffee. A little exposition time. I knew I would need to break this up with something strange or exciting and I couldn't think of a good reason to transition my characters to that new place.

Yes, I was searching for a way to add an explosion after the exposition.

26 January 2012

Remembering a view from a porch

Expanse of lovely grass
one week without cut.
Tipped blades
not square and torn.
Gentle irregularity, yon virid carpet.

Bold blades face me - dark
timid back companions turn - muted.
You are my lawn,
disarrayed, likely wind blown,
not pressed by beast at night
resting with abandon

Not meadow - your untamed cousin -
wild in your mind.
You are shaped and edged,
directed, acted upon, yet of nature too not only.

22 January 2012

A one year anniversary

I sit on this chair, bowed,
resting forearms on knees, hands clasped,
staring at a shadow, my shadow, draped over drab berber.
A soft fluorescent overhead bathes all.
My outline is box and triangle, fingers a steeple,
resembling no man
yet definitively me.
A representation without true form,
no sign of leg and leg, arm and arm, head and torso.
No useful hint of true me.
As good a help as blind men and their elephant.
I am a wall. I am a tree. I am a rope. I am a spear.
I am at a funeral.

Faded friend. Product of youth.
You are indistinct now
like Oquirrh edges haze lost.

19 January 2012

Aha! A day early

Four full sheep in her mind I suppose,
little lambs with dirty brown coats
trailing her along that fence of wire,
renters there in that little field
where Development will one day evict.

But for now they live and breathe my fumes.
A home aside Heidi’s mountain but dreamed,
no pastoral path to summer home,
no warm winter refuge.
Just this.

Do these four curse the Season clock
of their mother’s desire, Womb
that dropped them to this city meadow?

is it just to live,
to know a gentle, familial peace,
the comfort of mother's milk,
the green of the grass.

What do they know
that I have forgotten?