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

Pencil

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Please don't get me mixed up with anything else. I am a pencil, and always will be one. I started out as a sturdy log from an Elm tree. Slowly but surely, people made me smaller and smaller. Then someone installed a piece of lead inside me and an eraser on top of me. 

Over time, I frequently become overused. Even though I have a long piece of lead in me, like my other pencil brothers, we are rarely fully utilized. Most of the time, people throw me away before all of my lead is used up. I try and tell those people that I still have use, but they throw me away anyway. They're just throwing money away.

The same goes for my eraser. If it's not good enough for people to use any more, they throw me away.

Another way people waste me is by sharpening me too much. The lead inside me is good lead. It's made the right way, but wasteful people still throw me away before it's used up.  

Then there are those people that love to chew on my tail. When chewing on me, they slobber all over me. I'm sure they don't do this on purpose, but it  isn't very healthy to have human germs on my body all the time. I could get some terrible disease that might never be cured.

Finally, one of the weirdest things that happens to me is by those school kids. The ones who love to have pencil fights, fights that could turn very bloody very easily. One of them, or even both, could aim for any place but the face, but miss and cause a serious injury. Put out an eye, maybe.

We have to stop those nasty pencil fights.

The Magnolia Tree

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The long neglected

Magnolia tree

bravely struggled

for her dignity,

but the weight

of neglect

pulled her down

till her branches

dragged the ground.

 

Though she flowered

faithfully each year,

in her drooping limbs

the truth was clear:

She stood ashamed

of her sagging shape

but could do nothing

about her state.

 

Then you came along

and understood

her need to be free

of her scraggly wood

and trimmed

and pruned so lovingly,

that she reclaimed

lost dignity.

 

Now I can feel

surging energy

as she impatiently

awaits the Spring

so she can share

her magnificent

gratitude

for your love and care.

Dogs

Dogs are the best

of this I can attest

they love you no matter what

even when you’re in a rut

I like to watch them run and play

they know how to enjoy each day

humans sometimes turn on you

dogs are always loyal and true

I wish the dogs could all run free

they’re such a gift to people like me

A Fifty- Cent Glass

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The glass broke and so did I . . .

Crash upon the floor.

"No more!" I cried.

The car, the kids, the bills,

The peeling paint.

The lock just broke I cannot cope with more.

And so I lay upon the floor

With this cheap glass

In pieces everywhere.

I just don't care.

Let someone else

clean up the mess

For I am underneath myself

And will not be

Called out again.

I will not stand

And watch the roof

Fall on my head.

I'll lie instead

Upon the floor

Until no more

Disasters come.

I cannot bear

Just one more broken door

Or chair.

And don't you dare

Ask me why I lay and cry

In such a mess

Over a broken fifty-cent glass.

I'm Following You

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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

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"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?"

"No."

"Are you sure? Registration?"

"Phony."

"Plates?"

"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

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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.

 

Aging

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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

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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,

Realizing

Life cannot be measured

By a checkbook.

 

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