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{August 30, 2006}   The Chimney Stack

Joe’s a skinny guy.

Drives a Harley

and works

at the Kroger

in Mt. Washington.

Sometimes I think

he’s too thin

to be driving a Harley.

I saw Joe

catching a smoke,

he sat there glum,

looking lonely,

looking at the parking lot

looking at his smoke.

“What’s up Joe?” I said.

He then tells me

he’s feeling low

about that kid

found

in a chimney

all burnt up.

I then tell him

not to think

too hard

about it all.

“We’re all fucked up.” I say.

“Yea,” Joe replies,

throwing his smoke down.

“Just hope the kid is in a better place.”

I think of heaven,

but the thought won’t stick,

never seen heaven.

I think of the chimney stack

in an overgrown field of weeds

and bone and ash and teeth.

I think of a coroner’s table

with a pile of ash and bones

and teeth.

I think being taped

wrapped up tight

in a

hot closet.

Peter Deane

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Marilyn says:

I also feel bad about that little boy. Horrible.



I didn’t hear about any of this, so I just looked up the Cincinnati Enquirer online.

Now I’m trying to hide my face in my computer so my coworkers can’t see that I’m crying, but I have a picture of my son when he was three on my computer desktop.

All I can think about are his chubby little toddler hands tied behind his back in the dark…

Who could do such a thing? I wish I could believe that there was some grand arbiter of justice up in the sky that would make those people pay for what they did, but if there were, then how could three-year-old boys die taped up in a closet? Scared and uterly alone.



Phil says:

Those foster parents should get EXACTLY the same kind of treatment.



Jeff- or-ly says:

I feel bad about that little boy, but this is a terrible poem.



Heather says:

But they can’t get exactly the same kind of treatment because they’re not three.



Jeff,

You’re right!

I should dedicate it to all the terrible things we, as human beings, do to each other in the world.



P.S. Larry, can you retitle this poem

A Terrible Poem

Jeff hit it right.



Karen says:

I think the poem is just fine and a nice tribute to that little boy.



Heather says:

Wait, I have an idea…

The Chimney Stack

Joe’s a skinny guy.

Drives a Harley and works at the Kroger in Mt. Washington.

Sometimes I think he’s too thin to be driving a Harley.

I saw Joe catching a smoke, he sat there glum, looking lonely, looking at the parking lot, looking at his smoke.

“What’s up Joe?” I said.

He then tells me he’s feeling low about that kid found in a chimney all burnt up.

I then tell him not to think too hard about it all.

“We’re all fucked up.” I say.

“Yeah,” Joe replies, throwing his smoke down. “Just hope the kid is in a better place.”

I think of heaven, but the thought won’t stick; never seen heaven.

I think of the chimneystack in an overgrown field of weeds and bone and ash and teeth.

I think of a coroner’s table with a pile of ash and bones and teeth.

I think being taped wrapped up tight in a hot closet.

-Peter Deane

There. All better! It’s not a bad poem; it’s a good vignette.



Stephanie says:

I think it takes a lot of nerve to change someone’s poem. How would you – heather – like it if someone changed one of your stories?



Heather says:

What? The author said it was a bad poem. I was trying to be nice!

First of all, it’s just a thought, he can take it or leave it.

Second of all, I give my work to my fellow writers all the time and I appreciate it when they take a moment to help me out.

Peter, please let me know if offended you in any way. I was honestly just trying to make you feel better because you said it was a terrible poem, and I thought it was really good, just maybe not as a poem.



Heather says:

And Stephanie, you have a lot of nerve jumping on me for trying to help, when you said nothing to Jeff for insulting the poet, which was just mean.



No, Matter of fact I wrote a song once
and then someone took the song and
changed a chord here and there
and also a word here and there.

It pleased me to no end,
not that it might have sounded better or
was versed to better be understood.

They used what I created, and that just gives me a feeling of pleasure.

O and my wife just sent me this poem from work…

Author Unknown

Today there will be silence mom,
no crying will you hear.
I didn’t mean to anger you,
I just wanted you near.

Today there will be sleep again,
I won’t cry out in vain.
The nights I needed comforting,
were filled with hurt and pain.

How could someone so big and strong,
strike out at little me?
I was a gift, your little boy,
unwanted now, I see.

Today there will be love at last,
on angels wings I’ll soar.
Way up high, above the clouds,
through heavens golden doors.

So momma, say a prayer for me,
for the life I’ll never know.
I just wish you could have cared for me,
for I would have loved you so



Heather says:

Thanks, Peter.

First for relieving me of the horrible thought that I may have hurt you in some way.

And second for making me cry at work again with another poem.



Jeff- or-ly says:

I also cry when I read one of Peter’s poems, but for an entirely different reason.



Heather says:

Where is Stephanie when she’s needed?



Betty says:

ENOUGH! Who cares if the poem is good or bad. Peter’s heart is in the right place. Everyone needs to remember – a little boy is dead. There should be the outrage.



Stephanie says:

Stephanie is busy working. You should try and do the same



Heather says:

Stephanie: You have the time to make a post saying that you don’t have the time to make a post? Priceless.

Betty: We’re all outraged, but it’s the kind of thing that makes a person feel helpless, and there’s only so much you can say about it, you know? And there’s nothing we can say that would fix it and make it better.



jake says:

CATFIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



C.A. MacConnell says:

Haiku

Your thin man
His long limbs wrapped me
I am smoke



Heather says:

I can’t hang with the poets, man. I’m just not gifted that way.



Terry says:

You still my heart, C.A.



Karen @ the hood says:

My two cents…….I liked peter’s poems



No Heather…. everyone is a poet…
you know the rest.

Peter



don says:

some poets are better than others.



Erin says:

Hey Peter!

I enjoyed your living out loud yesterday.



Jim Stanton says:

Bond for the Carrolls has been set at more than $10 million dollars each. At least some kind of justice for little Marcus.



O thanks Erin. It was really hard for me to write that piece.

Probably the hardest.



Marilyn says:

I don’t think a story has gotten to me as this one in a very long time. How could these awful people become foster parents? This system needs to be looked at and completely redone. A little boy is dead because of the system.



Erin says:

I can tell it was difficult to write. I wish you would write more for that column.



Heather says:

I didn’t know you were a firefighter, Peter.

I have a lot of respect for you guys, I can’t think of any other profession where people put their own lives on line for the sole purpose of saving others. Cops and soldiers are heroic in a way, and they serve a purpose, but they can’t be included in the same class a firefighters because they also hurt and kill people and firefighters don’t.

Well anyway, I’m really sorry you lost one of your brothers Peter.

Please stop making me cry at work, they’re going to call in a counselor eventually.



Hey can anyone write a good uplifting story. I need one. A really good one about a family in Cincinnati.



C.A. MacConnell says:

Funny you said that. Coming soon, Peter. Keep your eyes peeled.



Peter,

I have a good uplifting story about a Cincinnati family for you:

They moved to San Diego!

Ha!

(sorry, I just couldn’t resist it any longer)



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