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Contact Mizeta at mizetasworld@live.com, or Howard at fhschneider@comcast.net

Sunset to the East


Our refreshing early morning walk brought us to the grassy knoll where we often sit to enjoy our  little piece of the world.

“Which way will you face today?” inquired Sofia.

“Hmmm, I think today, I will enjoy the sunset to the east.”

“Excellent,” she proclaimed. “We’ll sit back to back and watch the world spin.”

We settled in and Sofia opened our thermos of tea and poured us each a cup. She handed me mine with a toast “To another beautiful day.” Tessa Sue circled us slowly. I knew she was exploring with her nose, wagging while wandering, and sometimes nose-bumping our legs to remind us that petting her is a good thing.

Our conversation ranged from the philosophical to the political to the mundane, but we kept coming back to superlatives to describe the view.

“The poppies are closing now,” she said. “They feel dusk upon them.”

“The streams of sailing white clouds lying low over the mountains are just beginning to turn pink in my direction,” I exclaimed. “It’s going to be a beauty. I’m glad I turned to the east today for our setting sun.”

“I know,” she responded, “It’s going to be a glorious sunset to the west as well. The sun is withdrawing across the valley, but it’s playing with the river, showing off  sparkling diamonds in the ripples. Shadows from the fir and cedar are really coming alive, stretching out to their full length across the meadow and the sun is providing perfect backlighting; the trees are basking in it.”

“I always love the long shadows,” I said. “I have the Aspen casting more of a group shadow this way, shorter, but intertwined and dancing with each other in the breeze. And the clouds are  alive now. Incredible streaks of red hovering over the peaks as the valley descends into darkness. It is quite the sunset! I’m glad we came out for this.”

“Yes,” she said quietly. “I love our sunsets together.”

We were then silent as the earth rolled and our sunset became dusk as the sun slipped away. The air began to chill. Soon Sofia closed the thermos and gathered my cup. “I guess it’s time for home,” she said.

“Yes, another beautiful evening,” I replied. We stood and started down the short  trail to the house. Sofia hooked my arm with hers, and a gentle breeze accompanied us as we slowly made our way. I knew Tessa Sue was trotting along right behind, with brief nose-to-the-ground interludes.

The trail was known to me after so many years, and it was smooth and well maintained. Sofia had been walking with me this way  for several years now, and despite our age, we could still coordinate together like a dance team as she steered the course. Nevertheless, I always had my white cane with me. I used it to keep track of the edge of the path, which also helped me paint a mental picture  of our walk. So I took it with me, even when walking with Sofia.

We were silent as we enjoyed the song of trees. I remembered that day years ago when I did see the sunset in the Rockies, and it was spectacular. I wondered what direction I would face the next evening we came up to the grassy knoll, and which beautiful sunset would fill my mind.





I'm Following You


My name is Jim. I am a convicted rapist. I just got out of prison after serving fifteen years for rape. I left the prison at 7:00  this morning and the woman across the street is the first real one I've seen in fifteen years. Oh—I've seen pictures of women and have observed women prisoners, but certainly not a woman of beauty like this one.

How do I know she's pretty?  Any woman is pretty to me at this time in my life. I've never seen a woman in high heels wearing beautiful clothes like this woman is. As real as she is to me, I'm sure she doesn't even know I'm alive. I wonder what she'd do if she knew who I was or what I'd done?

But I am a changed man. I've served my time, and I think my wife will understand when we meet again.

Look! That woman will be going past my house pretty soon. Now she's going into my yard—up the stairs—and now into my house.

Could it be that the woman I was following is my wife?

Corpse in the Backseat


"I did what I had to do."

"Kill him? You had to kill him?" She was silent.

"Oh, I get it," he said. "You’d rather it was me."

"I would rather it hadn’t been either one of you."

"Well, it’s done."

"Where is he? I mean where is it . . . the body?"

"He’s in the car."

"The car . . . in the trunk?’

"No. I put him in the backseat."

"Jeez. Anyone can just look in and see him."

"It’s okay. He looks natural. I strapped him in the seatbelt."

"Did you close his eyes?"

"No. Then it would look like he’s sleeping upright. That wouldn’t look natural."

"Well, then he’s just staring blinklessly into space. That doesn’t look natural either."

The woman walked over to the hotel window. "Hey, come over here. Who’s that messing with our car?"

He looks out the window. "I don’t know him"

"I thought you knew everyone in this seedy end of town."

"Not him"

"What’s he got in his hand?"

"It’s a coat hanger. He’s jimmying the lock"

"Doesn’t he see the body in the back?"

"I think he does. He’s waving a gun in that direction. I’m going down there."

"No, wait," she said. "Can that car be traced to us?"


"Are you sure? Registration?"



"Phony. Both check out to a Tony Smith over on Market Street."

"What about the vin?"

"Ground off."

They heard the engine start. The car drove off.

"I think you just copped out on a murder charge," she said. They both stood staring out the window at the empty parking spot in the street.

"If that guy is still driving at night," the man said quietly, "he’ll get pulled over for that broken taillight I was goin’ to get it fixed."

"You know, I would love to go to Florida this time of year," she said.

"Me too. Let’s take the bus."

Meanwhile, as the car goes barreling down the freeway, the thief says to his passenger in the backseat, "Okay Mister, we’re gonna’ go for a long ride. Just sit still and keep your mouth shut."

As darkness descends, the thief hears a police siren. Seeing the squad car lights blinking behind, he pulls over and says to the corpse, "Sit still and let me do the talking. Even if I go to prison, I got friends on the outside, if you know what I mean."

The thief composes himself, "Good evening, officer. Anything wrong?"

"Let me see your driver's license and registration." The officer returns to the squad car. A moment later, he appears again at the thief’s car window. "The registration checks out with the plates, but this isn't your car."

"No, sir, borrowed for the evening. Mine’s in for repairs."

"Did you know your left tail light's out?" 

No, sir, I didn’t."

"Well, you need to get that fixed right away. I’ll let you go with just a warning this time." The officer turned to leave, then spotted the figure in the backseat. "Roll down you window," he ordered, then flashed his flashlight around the inside of the car. "I’m glad to see you both have your seat belts on. Drive safe now"

The Afterlife of Arthur James


Arthur James died in downtown Portland on the eighth of September, shot outside a tavern on Jefferson Street. The police didn't know who had shot him, but a witness reported that Arthur had been in an argument with another man inside. Three days later, he was buried with full military honors, including the six gun salute—he had been discharged from the Air Force in August after having flown jet planes for four years.

His wife sat in tears during the ceremony and was given a United States flag after a six-gun salute, which is the custom when a military person dies. When the ceremony was over, Arthur’s wife and other friends went to her house for a farewell party.

Several weeks after Arthur’s body was put into the ground, his wife went to the gravesite and started talking to her deceased husband, as wives might sometimes do. She had brought a folding chair with her to sit on while she talked to him. She told him how much she missed him and how much she loved him. As she sat there, she thought about the good times that they had had together. Then, suddenly, she heard a voice say, “I love you, Honey.”

Where is that voice coming from, she wondered. She looked all around, forward and backward, to the left and to the right. She looked up to the sky and underneath her chair. There was no one there. Then she said into the air, “Artie. is that you?” There was no answer.

Artie's. wife was confused. “The dead don't talk. Am I hearing things?” Then she heard the voice again. “I miss you.”

She stood up and checked everywhere again, waited a few moments, then folded the chair and went home, not knowing what to think.

A week later, Artie's wife went to the burial grounds again. The grave was still there, and nothing had changed. Maybe the grass surrounding the grave had grown some, but the rest was the same. She wondered if she might hear the voice again. She had not been able to really believe that she had heard Artie’s voice the last time she was there. She remembered talking with friends and her Mother and Father about what had happened. They all thought it was just what she had wanted to hear—nothing more. So, she took what they said and passed it off as “her head talking to her.”

She had brought her folding chair, so she sat down and started talking to the grave again, telling Artie how much she loved him and how much she missed him. She wondered if she would hear his voice again like she did the last time After being at the grave for a while with no words from Artie, she folded the chair and went home. Shortly after arriving at her home, she heard the phone ring. When she picked it up and said, “Hello,” the person on the other end hung up.

Helen didn't know who the caller was and why they would be calling her now. So, she took the chair and her coat and put them away. Later, as she sat alone in the kitchen, she began to think about what happened at her husband’s grave. She found it hard to believe that her man could really have been talking to her.

Meanwhile, a vicious storm that had been pounding the coast for the

the last couple of hours moved inland. The next day, the cemetery called and told Helen that several trees had fallen, and that two of them landed on her husband’s gravesite. The tombstone had been damaged, and she would have to come to the cemetery, so they could determine what could be fixed. When she got to the cemetery, she found the attendant who had called and chatted with him for a while. She liked him and thought he was really attractive

After a while, the damaged tombstone was repaired and put back on the grave. The attendant, whose name was Colin, asked Helen if she would like to go out with him once in a while, since he was lonely as well. She said, “Yes, I would.” So, they started dating several times a week and really enjoyed each other.

Then one day she went to the grave to talk to Artie about what had happened since her last visit. She told him about how much she liked the attendant. Soon she thought she heard Artie say, “Go for it, Helen.”

Three months later, Colin asked Helen to be his wife. She said, "Yes," and never visited Artie's grave again.




I never thought I’d be so slow.

This aging thing has got to go.


My body’s stiff and I need a face lift.

I can hardly see and keep needing to pee.


Forgot to mention that I can not hear.

I’m falling apart year after year,


And my friends are croaking.

I’m not joking.


Hells Bells—what can I do?

Oh well, no sense in being blue.

Checkbook Balance



I faced a pile of bills and

a sadly lacking

checkbook balance.

Tears welled up as I caught

A glimpse of sunshine

Through my window.


Emerald green grass

And crystal blue skies

Captured my attention.

Yellow buttercups waved

In a gentle breeze.

I picked one for my love.

Then herd his voice and turned.

Smiling, I held the flower out.

Surprised it was a pen

He looked puzzled,

Gently tugged my ear

And kissed my cheek.


Soon he left and I returned

To the checks,


Life cannot be measured

By a checkbook.


Enjoy the Day


It’s finally cool and not so hot.

I’ve found a seat and like this spot

I’m here alone and thinking clear—

remembering things that I hold dear.

Certain people come to mind.

All I want is someone kind.

No one to bug me or give advice.

If they get on my nerves they'll pay the price.

I’ll wrap this up and be on my way.

Moving along to enjoy this day.

It’s Your Hair That’s Important


When I was in high school in the 1950s, one of the most popular ways for girls to wear their hair was in a style called a bouffant, commonly known as a beehive.  The hair was built-up on top of their head and actually did resemble a beehive. Somehow, the girls got their hair piled up and then used a lot of hairspray to keep that shape. This hairstyle took a lot of time and trouble, so once done it was not often taken down—sometimes for weeks on end. As a result, the hair could become awfully stiff and dirty. 

I remember one girl who was so devoted to this hairstyle that she carried things a little bit too far. After a couple of weeks without washing or combing her hair, her head became awfully itchy. She thought by applying more spray the itching would go away. But alas, it got worse. She still continued with the spraying, and in spite of a lot of scratching the itching didn’t stop. Then one day she went into a convulsion and died. No one knew why. Even the doctor couldn’t find a reason for her death.

Finally, her body was taken to the mortuary, where she would be prepared for the funeral. When the undertaker took her hair down he found a thriving nest of cockroaches. They had eaten through her scalp and deep into her brain. Her death certificate stated, death by cockroach.

The Many Angles of Love


can’t explain it,

predict it, coin it or bottle it

yet it tends to rule the show.

snacks on a kiss but needs

oceans to oxygenate for the long haul.

can be an anesthetic for sadness,

inspire soft yielding smiles

and flicker on as fast as it flickers off.

is overbearing when unwanted,

can injure the innocent,

but also be a refuge

from life’s bitter requirements.

can bring splendor to the soul

and body,

veiled in its own truths.

can cause some to duck

out of the way.

comes in large and small doses,

savors lips

and brings out the heroic

in most.

full of sweet fire.

often peaceful like kittens

curled in a basket.

on everyone’s wish list

at least once.

More of Ken's poetry can be found at his website, standuppoet.com

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