Sometimes a picture stays with me, nudging my soul; and as I try to find the perfect words, each revision continually falls short. Perhaps that’s what poetry is for me – An unending search to assign meaning to life’s unique events

Here is yet another attempt to capture a small moment

Autumn’s sweetest rose
touched by flames of fall fire
-and a bit of frost

-cj holm

Thought progression of a Haiku

Hospital White (Ronovan Writes #13)

I wrote this for Ronovan’s Flash Fiction Challenge #13. The directions include:

Take your favorite quote from a movie and use it as inspiration for your entry this week. If you want more direction, make it the last sentence in your piece. (REQUIRED) OK I may have used a book quote, but who knows they may have made it into a movie.
Word Count of 500. (SUGGESTED)

“Hospital white”, it was everywhere I looked, including the ceramic tiles on the wall, the curtains separating the patients in the semi-private rooms, and the food trays wheeled down the hall to patients who had no interest in the flavorless food.

From in the hallway, I could sense the grief of my family. It was as if they shared one thought, one heartbeat while watching the heart monitor. The synthesized sound that mimicked the bouncing flashing lights had been muted. Captured scientific notations printed on strips of papers that bled silently into a waiting basket.

They were alone in the room witnessing his final breaths.  The nursing staff maintained a distance to allow them to witness his final moments. They would only intervene if needed or requested; no one expected any miracles to occur. Any silent prayers made were for a pain-free exit for him and relief for those sharing this final act.

I waited in the hallway, leaning against the wall like an extra in one of those sad black and white movies. I could hear my mother calling for me, but I couldn’t answer. She would have to rely on my sister’s strength to see her through this event. I had been gone for a long time and she had taken over my role in the family.

My father had been a strong man, who did not ask for favors. He worked hard all of his life and expected his children to do the same. He expected me to work hard and replace him later as the man of the house as he had done for his father. The tradition was strong in our lives, as the family pictures on hallway wall reminded us.

My father worked as a mechanic but he was much more. For us and most of the neighbors, he was a “fixer”. He was the one everyone turned to get things to run. He had a magical touch when it came to the worn tired machines we and the neighbors had. He could grease and massage our “treasures” back into life when pulled from the trash of the people who lived on the other side of town. He was a magician that waived a wench and wove electrical tape and bailing wire into intricate repairs. He was constantly repairing bikes, trikes, and wagons for the neighborhood and the children loved him for it. I was proud to be his son.

The nurse walked past me into the room; apparently some piece of equipment attached to him indicated the end was drawing near. She reminded everyone to expect labored breathing and he might struggle for air, but it would pass quickly as his body relaxed. For the moment, he was resting quietly. My sister held onto my mother’s hand and sobbed quietly.

Ten years ago at dad’s retirement party he spoke to everyone about how he wished I had been there. He told everyone how we had rebuilt a car together and how I had rewired the ignition without any help. He said I had been so proud of that and how we loved to go together for rides in that old car we rebuilt together. Dad cried when he went on to tell the story of my death a year before.

I heard the doctor tell the nurse, “it will be over soon, call the priest.”

When I saw Dad coming out of the room to greet me, I reached into my pocket and grabbed my keys. “Dad, let’s go for a ride.”

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.”

-Clarence Holm

The force that holds us
Can bridge distance between us
-Our love works that way

-Clarence  Holm



Small Town Living (Fiction)

(Flash fiction character introduction)


Boudoir Elite

In 1965 they were the city’s true blood establishment, past faded winners of local beauty pageants, and now resplendent in their disdain of all things deemed inferior! They were the old vipers who use to meet at the coffee shop for their morning swig of caffeinated venom? They had hair that was teased into a bouffant and doused in spray lacquer. Their blood-red lipstick smeared on their coffee cup and their crooked smiles.

Smoke drifted from their mentholated Kools that seemed permanently stuck between yellowed fingers. The only thing that smells worse than the stinging smoke lingering around them, was the fetid bath waters they soaked in.

Their only purpose in life was to make sure they had it all. Unfortunately with no understanding, much less an appreciation of the effort required to produce anything, they could only consume. They were like the sows in the pen, mindlessly eating anything in their trough and defecating on anything else.

To someone willing to patronize and feed them, they were the perfect tools of destruction. All one had to do was to heard them in a direction and watch them devour the designated target. Yvonne Gregoire, wife to the mayor and President of Cities Fine Arts Council, knew precisely how to drive this sounder of swine.

-Clarence Holm

A flash fiction exercise in character development, comments or suggestions are welcome.

(Any resemblance to real people is coincidental and certainly not caused by a slightly vindictive memory.)

Flash Fiction – The Opossum

Thought I would try my hand with a new medium. I have been reading quite a few of these flash fiction efforts and like the way ideas are presented, like personal glimpses of a bigger story.

I am definitely interested in everyone’s reaction to this story

She seemed unsteady tonight. The opossum rubs up against my leg, just as she had for the last two years in this camp. When I reached down to pick her up, my hand came away covered in pus from a wound on her back that had erupted from my touch.

I instinctively knew she would be dead soon, the victim of her primordial urge to fight others of her own kind. Their razor like teeth had punctured her skin and had become a breeding site for the infection that now doomed her to a horrible death within days. With no medicine or antibiotics at my disposal, the only way to help the animal would be to end its suffering quickly.

She had stumbled into my bunk during the first week of my internment, just a small scared animal seeking the warmth and comfort of a bed. We were alike, each lost in our journey, each trying to survive in a new reality. Both of us are ejected from our pouch and now prisoners of this war.

-Clarence Holm

To Rhyme or Not To Rhyme

I received an interesting reaction to a poem I recently posted that included the statement “there is a general aversion to rhyming poems”.

At first glance I was taken aback by the comment. I guess it brought to mind parallels of people saying they can’t stand country western music or rap. But as I continued reading, it became apparent that the writer, while not particularly thrilled about rhyming poetry, was talking about not liking bad poetry.

I can accept that viewpoint – if everyone can agree that bad poetry (whether rhyming or free-verse) can be defined as any attempt to express artificially. (Emotional fraud)

For me writing, or even speaking, is very hard and often fraught with peril. It is extremely easy to offend or bore someone with a poorly constructed statement. I consider communication to be like watching a Wallenda in a tight rope walking act; every move calculated for internal and external forces over a predefined course for maximum effect.

When I write and especially when I write about memories, I am trying to convey something I experienced. That experience may have occurred in an instant or may have been an accumulation of experiences. For instance, when I write about being on a farm, I am writing from the experience of being young and barefoot, without a care in the world. I am also including being raised in a farm house with no insulation, where in the winter; glasses of water left in an upstairs bedroom froze from the cold. Or not realizing that most everyone  had running water. That bathing was not considered a weekly event, even though daily chores in the barn left a certain odor in our hair for schoolmates to smell.

When I write, I want to include that I miss my parents, that I cried at their funeral and I left a written note to my mother in her casket telling her I loved her. I want you to know that I am proud of my heritage of being a little bit Swedish, mostly German with a Polish person’s desire for potato dumplings. I’d like you to know that lutefisk stinks and Catholic communion wafers always stuck to the roof of my mouth.

I’d also like you to know that I graduated from college, worked in construction, managed restaurants, worked as a store detective and held a marketing position for over 25 years. I have watched people die and have been given “Last Rights” by my Lutheran Minister who understood that some Catholic beliefs still hang on even if you’ve converted.

To communicate, I resort to various techniques, include rhyming, meter, alliteration, pitch and tempo. To some these attempts may come across as campy or stilted, but as long they contain honest emotion, I will stand by them.

To those that don’t like rhyming poetry consider the words of Walt Disney.

Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we’ll do.
Near, far, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we’ll spend

-Clarence Holm

Go Easy On The Ketchup

– Clarence Holm

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of really nice and compassionate people on WordPress. People who are more than willing to listen to your stories, follow your progress and offer support. (Verbally at least, although I would venture to guess many provide financial support too.)

My question is why would anyone verbally trash anyone who is trying to be a supportive person? That type of behavior is beyond me.

Now I could understand, someone going after me with cheap shots, (expensive shots too I hope). My behavior in life has not been exemplary. In fact, if my better qualities were charted, I’m afraid they would, more often than not, fall into the “don’t” side.

When I am feeling a little down, I go to the WordPress Reader and browse the articles and the comments (especially the comments). Invariably I will come away feeling much better because of the feedback given by these members.

For me it’s like going to my in-laws – I know I am going to get hugged! It embarrasses me, it’s not something I would ever initiate and it’s certainly not something my German/Swedish heritage would endorse. But deep down I not only enjoy it, but I find myself kind of looking forward to it. (much like the hamburger hotdish)

So for anyone who cares to comment on my posts, go ahead. Just go easy on the ketchup