Non-Fiction (a catharsis)

Would like to be so clever—
put it all on the page in some obscure manner
that would make you go,
“Oh, isn’t this deep, and beautiful
and worthy of acclaim?”

The bottom line is this is not going to be
a very good poem. 

I may not ever be ready
to share what’s really in my head,
how it replays those words,
“just before I slit his throat”
over and over.

Don’t want to say I’m haunted
by the true crime,
but it’s sitting there
under the surface,
every time I turn from the window
and the natural world.

I catch myself thinking:

Don’t forget to lock the door.
Don’t stop to play the Samaritan.
Don’t ever drop your guard.

Maybe I’m too paranoid
to be reading Capote in the first place,
but occasionally,
there’s that darkness deep inside
that must be satisfied.

All of us have the capacity—
all of us can dig a little and find
where evil lies.

Some of us will never cross the line.
(What decides who is on which side?)

But the reality is,
Evil comes out of hiding
to strike like a gator on a bayou
riverside.

They are out there-empty and black inside
waiting to make their move.

We all know this, yet it’s so
easy to put the facts out of mind – to forget.

Don’t ever forget.

In the beginning I disclaimed
about being clever.

Good thing I did.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2017

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Not much of a Sunday Poem, on Sunday.

This poem did not end up as serious in tone as I had hoped. The rhyme gives it a light-heartedness that is in direct opposition to the subject-matter.  Even the title seems inappropriate and yet, I am reluctant to lose it or to change the piece.  Perhaps this is my subconscious way of coping with what I’m reading in the superb account of the  war in Somalia in 1993, by Mark Bowden, “Black Hawk Down”.  I’m halfway through this book—not something I would ever have thought I would read, but it is absolutely compelling because of the expert writing and the way it gets inside the heads of all concerned, on every level and on both sides. 

I have also seen the film, “Black Hawk Down’, directed by Ridley Scott, of “Gladiator” fame.  I watched it myself one day (Kevin had long been recommending it) and I did like the film, despite the subject matter.  I intend to watch it again once I finish the book.

Bowden describes the events of “Black Hawk Down”— where a huge helicopter is brought down by an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) to the streets of Mogadishu  and the after-effects as Rangers, Delta Force and other troops in Humvees and choppers and on foot attempt a rescue against hail of gunfire and grenades from mobs of Somali militants and civilians— as a “hornet’s nest” of fighting, killing and death.

I don’t even scratch the surface with this poem, but after a big cup of coffee I can only disclaim that this is what struck me (no pun intended).

 

Lauded Guns

 

When did we improve, upon daggers and spears

and begin firing balls of burnt metal?

Who can we thank for the clever device

that explodes on command, man or devil?

 

Whiz of ballistic, most often sadistic,

report of the calibered shot,

crossing roadways and alleys, or volleyed from galleys,

in clusters of grapes, molten-hot.

 

Once, with measured-out paces,two turned their faces,

then fired until one man would drop.

It was just the beginning of wars no one’s winning,

with ordinance no one can stop.

 

The entire world over, men running for cover

can thank the inventors who made

the first howitzer, rifle—one gun—meant to stifle

a person, or people, afraid.

 

Toast to Wesson and Smith and each of their kith

bringing killing and death to new heights.

Now with techn0-advances beyond cannons and lances

We ensure, take-no-prisoners fights!

 

Kat Mortensen©2010 
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

OSI: “walls”

paper Click picture for source.


Stripping Down


I once took to the walls–
with the ghastly floral paper–
a penknife
and stripped away for hours,
layer by layer,
looking for the history
beneath.
I scratched and scraped
until I had to use
my own nails…
until they bled.
Such was my determination–
like a badger
routing out a rat–
to find what lay
under it all;
to clean away the
tasteless choices and
rediscover
what once was
fresh paint.

Some would think me mad
If they knew what I had done–
Now the secret’s out.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

(To visit One Single Impression, click on the button in my sidebar at the left.)

To Russia With Love (and other dreams)

hermi1

I saw this over at A Little Birdie Told Me So (Steviewren’s blog – click the link for the original list) the other day and she scooped it from somewhere else. She had 41 out of 100 which made me feel pretty good since I only have 49 and I thought that was low.

This is a list of things you may or may not have done (yet) in your life. I’m going to adjust this a bit (like the classic book list). Highlighted in green will be the things I’ve done. Highlighted in red will be things I have not done. Highlighted in orange will be ones I’d want to do and yellow (too light) so, purple will be ones I would NEVER do. ( will also add a few notes of explanation and some links to relevant posts.

1. Started my own blog (s)

(See also: Poetikat’s Blasts From the Past, Poetikat’s Previous Poetry Repository, Post to Post)

I’m pretty sure there will be more along the way.

2. Slept under the stars (Slept in a pup-tent with my best friend, but chickened out and went back inside to my own bed, leaving her alone outside to brave the creatures of the night!)

3. Played in a band – Well, almost. I learned how to play the bass guitar because my boyfriend wanted me to. See this post for more on him: The Music Men I never did get up on stage, but we did jam for a bit with friends.

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower – I know they’re pretty rare and I always seem to miss them. Let me know if you hear of one coming, will you?

6. Given more than I can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world

8. Climbed a mountain (Okay, so it wasn’t really a MOUNTAIN. It was a very big hill in Scotland, but it sure felt like a mountain!)

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sung a solo ( I sang many solos along the way in grade school. The one I remember best was “My Grandfather’s Clock” in front of a classroom of parents, classmates and teachers.)

11. Bungee jumped

(See this post: I’ll Never Say That! )

12. Visited Paris – I HAVE been to France, but not to Paris. Our family did a whirlwind tour of Europe and the UK when I was 16, but Paris was not on the itinerary for some reason. I hope to rectify that one day.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught myself an art from scratch (I taught myself to crochet and knit when I was in middle school. I have taught myself to cook many things in my early and continuing adult life. I consider this an art.)

15. Adopted a child (We have not adopted, but we do foster a child in Columbia).

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown my own vegetables (long story about cherry tomatoes and some squirrels – a poem may develop in the future)!

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France – For those of you – like me – who have never seen this famed work of art, you may be surprised to learn that it is not your typical large portrait; it’s actually very small. Still, it’s probably the most famous painting ever created, wouldn’t you agree? I suppose that makes it worthwhile to see.

20. Slept on an overnight train (I was only a little girl when my mother and I took the train from Toronto to Halifax, Nova Scotia to visit her relatives in Cape Breton. I loved sleeping in the berth and long to do it once more. I must satisfy myself with fantasy-trips instead. Check out the “Orient Express” poster in the top left of my blog to join Museswings on the adventure of a lifetime!)

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked (Between all the urban legends out there, and the true crimes that have been committed by psycho drivers, I think I’ll give it a miss, BUT if you want to see one fantastic movie that is based on a hitch-hiking trip to the wilds of Alaska, watch Into The Wild.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb (One day I will surely do this!)

26. Gone skinny dipping (My friend (the one I left in the tent) and I used to have nude-bathing sessions by moonlight in the above-ground pool in my backyard. Even then, we felt there was something clandestine about it all. Since then, only once have I done this – with my husband at his parents’ cottage on the Tuesday after Labour Day when everyone had gone back home and the lake was barren.

27. Run a marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (My husband has done all the Italian tourist things I would still love to do. He traveled with a girlfriend through France and Italy. He now says he wishes it had been with me. Me too!)

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

(See this post: Days of Hell )

32. Been on a cruise ( after a 6 hour journey from Bar Harbor, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia (1975), in which I spent the better part of it hanging off the benches on the deck trying not to puke, I am not inclined to test my “sea-legs” further.)

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person ( I have the good fortune of living quite close to Niagara Falls. It’s just an 1 1/2 hour drive away. In fact, next weekend, we just so happen to be going for a 2-night stay in a hotel with luxury dinners and hot-tub/sauna and swimming pool. OMG! My white body is going to look so bad in that swimsuit I bought this summer and never put on!)

34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community (Again – I’m stretching things a bit here. Our city borders on a region populated by Mennonites. It is not uncommon in some of the smaller towns and on the lesser-highways to come across horse-drawn carts with Mennonite folk going about their business. It is delightful to see them in their traditional costumes – the men in suspenders and hats and the women with braided, coiled hairdos and long, peasant-style dresses.

36. Taught myself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (see #28)

39. Gone rock climbing. (Weeell, sort of. I have been indoor rock-climbing. It was a few winters ago when my niece was staying with us for the March Break. It was my idea to go and it was a blast. I was scared though, but I did climb pretty high.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (see#28)

41. Sung karaoke. (Not in a bar, you understand, BUT I have belted out songs at family Christmas and anniversary parties – you should hear my “Big Spender”!)

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa (I prefer to armchair tour Africa – for an amazing travel doc – see Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in The Long Way Down for the most incredible trip throughout the length of Africa. You’ve never seen anything like this!)

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

( See this post: Traveler’s Checks )

47. Had my portrait painted

(See this post about another portrait: Dungeon-dweller)

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person (see #28)

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Peut-être, un jour.)

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (If you include strapping on a mask and a tube and flippers and swimming in the Bras d’Or lakes, then yes, I have!)

52. Kissed in the rain (happens all the time!)

53. Played in the mud (As a child, I must have. As an adult, it’s hard not to when you’re a gardener.)

54. Gone to a drive-in theater (My sister, Nancy and I took our ‘77 Impala to the drive-in one night and we brought one of our cats! He didn’t seem to mind – we also had a sleeping bag and the car is so huge, it’s like travelling with 2 chesterfields on wheels.)

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business (Some of you may already know that I have a personalized poetry business called Kathleen Mortensen Ink. To others of you, it may be a surprise. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of call for this type of poetry, but if anyone needs a poem for ANY occasion – birthdays, anniversaries, new homes, pets etc. – I’m your poet!

If you’d like to see samples of my work, drop me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to show you.)

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia (This is a dream that my husband and I share – a trip to Russia to visit the Hermitage, and all the wondrous sites in St. Petersburg and Leningrad).

60. Served at a soup kitchen (I need to extend myself further, do you? How about we make a commitment to at least once this year, get out and help in a place such as this. I know with our economies world-wide, there must be call for volunteers everywhere.)

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (I was a Brownie. I loved Brownies, but did not want to “Fly up” to what we, here in Canada called “Girl Guides”. I loved my “Brown Owl” leader too much!)

62. Gone whale watching (If I get back down to my mother’s ancestral home of Cape Breton sometime in the near future – and have the chance to visit my cousin in Newfoundland, I may get to do this. I think it would be amazing to see whales in the wild.)

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving Not in a million years!

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp

(See this post: Friday Flashback: Hitler’s Art)

67. Bounced a check (never on purpose!)

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (more than one, but particularly “Teddy” who is 6 months younger than I am.)

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar ( Not GREAT caviar; not even GOOD caviar, BUT caviar nonetheless. YUCK!)

72. Pieced a quilt (living in Mennonite country, there are many quilts to be had, but I have never learned how to do it myself. It’s one of those things I’m not ruling out of my experience.)

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job (Demonstrating hot tubs and saunas at the Canadian National Exhibition – not as glamourous as it sounds – I wore a hideous blue t-shirt and polyester pants. It was the summer of 1978.)

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (1977 – Family trip to Europe – captured on 8mm film – brutal to watch. We saw every cathedral and war monument there was to see. Not the most exciting for a 16 year old girl, BUT I met my cousins in England and they were great!)

77. Broken a bone (I hope I never do!)

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (Not speeding – my husband is quick to point out – responsible motoring. We have owned 2 motorcycles since we’ve been married. I don’t ride, but love to be on the back. We sold our last one unfortunately – and my husband says he is content with his new Mini Cooper. We’ll see.)

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book (This is something I am intent on doing this year. I hope to self-publish a collection of my poetry. I’ll keep you posted when I do!)

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car (see #78)

83. Walked in Jerusalem (If it were not for the political climate in this region of the world, this is the one place I would probably be most inclined to see. I can’t imagine how incredible it must be to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.)

84. Had my picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible (It’s unlikely that I will ever get through the ENTIRE Bible, although I have read a goodly portion. I find Exodus is just a brute with all the measuring of the Ark. My favourite book of the Old Testament is Tobit and I love the Acts of the Apostles in the New.

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I would NEVER hunt and I don’t eat meat, other than chicken and fish, BUT in 1989, my uncle took me brook-trout fishing and insisted I do everything from dig for worms to scaling and cooking the fruits of our labours. I admit, it was fun and I was proud of my catch of 6 trout. )

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous (No-one to get really excited about – I met two famous celebs at one of those mall kind of meet-and-greet things – Mr. Dressup – kind of the Canadian Captain Kangaroo in a way, and Flipper! Yes! They had a tank in the parking lot at the local mall and there was “Flipper” flapping about doing tricks and squeaking in that high-pitched voice of his. At the time, I really believed it was my beloved dolphin idol, but now, I’m a bit skeptical.

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one (Unfortunately, I can say, “yes” to this one. Most of you know I lost my father just last November. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost or is losing someone they love. It hurts.)

94. Had a baby (Not in God’s plan for me or for us as a couple.)

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone (I own one, but rarely use it. I don’t “Text” and we just pay-as-you-go.)

99. Been stung by a bee ( I have a morbid fear of bees and even jumped out of a moving car once when one landed on my sister who was sitting next to me. I was stung by one that was inside my coat. I had taken it off and lain it on a chaise longue; when I put it back on, the bee stung my back.)

100. Ridden an elephant ( I would love to do this!)

Don’t Get Me Started!


My friend Willow of Willow Manor was recently interviewed by a fellow-blogger and it was great fun to learn more about her and the history of the Manor. She invited her bloggy-friends to leave a comment indicating they wished to by interviewed by her and I took the opportunity to do so in order that you, my loyal visitors would be let in on a few histories and idiosyncrasies of my own. Below is the interview resulting from Willow’s questions of me. At the end, please feel free to assist us in furthering this voyage of discovery into the worlds of many of the participants in the Creative Clans of Blogdom. (If you would like to be interviewed, see rules at the bottom of this post.)

1. Your poetry is amazing. When did you starting writing?
I have always had a love of words and rhymes. As a very little girl, my grandmother would sit me on her knee and read to me. My prized possessions were books of verse – Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes, A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and the strange and wonderful books by Dr. Seuss (Green Eggs and Ham), P.D Eastman (Are You My Mother?)and perhaps my favourite – Theo LeSieg’s “Come Over to My House“.
I began writing poetry in grade school and continued through high school and university, though I viewed it only as a diversion – a sideline. My focus was to get a degree in English Literature and become a teacher. I did obtain the degree, but fell out of favour with teaching because it did not align with my slightly introverted personality.
Two years ago, I left my office job to spend more time with my parents who were grappling with my father’s Parkinson’s and dementia. At that time, three career-changing incidents occurred: I wrote a very well-received poem to commemorate my husband’s parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary, I won a competition to name a skunk who had “hitched a ride from California to Ontario, Canada”, and I wrote a poem about the skunk that was published online by one of our national newspapers. As a result, I established a relationship with a mentor-writer out of B.C. who has been a wealth of knowledge, inspiration and a very good friend. I began blogging in May of that year and, as they say, “the rest is history” – so far. (Incidentally, I firmly believe that any talent I have is not of my own making necessarily, but purely as a result of the gift of both my fathers – the one late of Earth and the one in Heaven.)

2. How did you meet your charming husband?
Back in 1993 – before the advent of internet-dating, I was a young woman in my early 30s who had gone just about every route there was to meet a man with whom I would want to spend the rest of my life. Frankly, I was ready to enter a nunnery! You can imagine at that age, that I had had my share of ups and downs with previous relationships. For about a year, I completely stopped dating and spent some time getting to know myself. I also prayed long and hard for some sort of guidance in my life.
One day, I discovered “Telepersonals” telephone-dating on the back page of a Toronto entertainment magazine. I decided to give it a whirl since women had the ability to block phone calls if they chose to do so. I created my own ad and listened to others at my leisure. Apart from the fellow who described himself as a Jesus-lookalike, everybody I spoke to seemed very nice, but just not the “right” one. It was like having two jobs – one regular one by day and another part-time job screening candidates at night.
One day, I was listening to the mens’ ads and I heard one that caught my interest. The guy was looking for “someone born in the 60s, who loved music and liked to people-watch. I could tell he had a playful nature when he spontaneously broke into a familiar Sesame Street song using the word “monogamy”. For this guy, I decided to break my rule of not leaving my phone number and I’m so glad I did. We spoke on the phone (he was drinking a McDonald’s chocolate shake) for over an hour – learning we both loved certain bands, movies, cats, food – met the next night for dinner, and the rest is, again…you know.

3. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
If you’re talking on a personal level – then I would say it has to be working with my husband to move my parents out of their home of 39 years – with its massive accumulation of stuff– in order to bring them to our city (an hour away) and within walking distance of our own home. We singlehandedly shifted all of the unnecessary items – donating to Habitat for Humanity, thrift stores, or dragging to the dump, while keeping and moving their prized possessions and keepsakes to a new, luxury apartment we had found for them.

In terms of my career – probably the most significant thing for me has been to see my work in print in magazines and a national paper, but I really believe the best is yet to come. I hope to publish a collection this year and that I think will be my greatest accomplishment.

4. Who is your favorite male actor and why?
When it comes to actors, I am hard-pressed to be pinned down to just one. I can very easily tell you who I don’t like, but we’d be here all day! I am a great lover of film, as some of my previous posts have illustrated, so my favourite actors tend to be in different genres. My taste does not lean towards the typical male actor. I’m not one for the “flavour of the month”. Usually, I like the scrawny, lanky Brit and my choices definitely reflect that.
When I saw this question I thought, “Who do I make a point of watching? Who will I go out of my way to see on film? Three actors fall into this category – Daniel Day Lewis, Robert Carlyle and Richard E. Grant. I have seen nearly all of Day-Lewis’s films, with exception of “Gangs of New York”, because I have a tough time with really graphic violence. I did greatly enjoy, “There Will Be Blood”, however, despite some scenes. My absolutely favourite role of his has to be as Cecil Vyse in the Merchant-Ivory film, “A Room With a View”. In my opinion, he steals the show.
Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty) was first made known to me through the series, “Cracker”. He played a psychotic, racist killer in one of the episodes. He was also in “Trainspotting” with Ewan McGregor (who would be in my top 10 list) but really won me over with the “Hamish MacBeth” series, so much so that I endured the movie “Ravenous” wherein he plays a cannibalistic soldier and really chews up the scenery. He fares far better in “There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble” – a footy (soccer) movie that I love.
Richard E. Grant can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. He plays the down-on-his-luck theatre actor of 1969 London to quintessential perfection in “Withnail and I” – my all-time favourite comedy (be warned: language and subject matter may offend some), and has done justice to Shakespearean roles, television period pieces and other characters. His book With Nails is a real insight into the world of British film-making and Hollywood. (You can find a link to his website in my sidebar under miscellaneous blogs.)

Of course I can’t answer this question without giving a nod to some of my favourite classic film actors: Henry Fonda (favourite role – Frank in Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West”), James Stewart (favourite role – Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey”), James Cagney (favourite role – Cody Jarrett in “White Heat”).

I would be cheating if I did not admit to my one weakness when it comes to movie actors. I own many of and will watch any of Hugh Grant’s films. Inexplicable, I know, but his twinkling eyes and smirky grin get me every time. I really enjoy him as Frederic Chopin in “Impromptu” and as the has-been 80s pop-star in “Music and Lyrics”, but in my opinion, his finest role to date is the director in a little known film called, “An Awfully Big Adventure” which also features a deliciously smarmy Alan Rickman.

5. Other than your loved ones, what is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is my Celtic wedding band. I was delighted to be getting married in June 1994. We almost pulled off an elopement to Ireland, but being Catholic, I was determined to get married in a church and the Arch-diocese in Dublin would not allow outsiders to do so on short notice (despite the willingness of a lovely parish priest). We did marry, in Toronto at the church I attended as a little girl. We flew off to Belfast for our honeymoon and though we intended to visit my father’s childhood haunts, were scared off when an incident in a pub during the World Cup of Soccer resulted in a shooting. We made haste to Dublin where we somehow ended up on the wrong side of town ( a little old lady told me to “mind my bag, dear” as we walked in search of a B & B).
I had not desired an engagement ring. To be getting married was thrill enough and I only had my heart set on matching golden bands to signify the sacrament and our enduring love.
We found the perfect gold rings in a shop on one of the sidestreets of Dublin. They are decorated with Celtic symbols and are identical, but for the size. I don’t form attachments to things as a rule, but should I lose my wedding band, I would be very sad, indeed. (Having said that, I’d be really upset if I broke my traditional brown, Sadler teapot).

Here are the instructions if you wish to be interviewed by me:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me”.
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions (I get to pick the questions)
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I will post a list of those who have agreed to an interview so everyone can follow along.

You are entering a Zone…

Welcome!

You are here at the inception of a brand new blog.

This blog has come about because I maintain another one which is primarily a repository of my creative poems, but periodically I find myself slipping in the odd video that serves to illustrate a piece of my history.

I was born in 1961, which makes me someone who just scrapes in as a Gen-Xer, but I can tell you that who I am today is largely the result of what I watched on television in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. My husband grew up with almost identical t.v.-watching patterns – except that he is greatly influenced by the original Star Trek whereas, I was more of a Batman and Robin fan at that time.

It is my sincere wish that those who visit this blog will be charmed, delighted and transported back to distant, yet sweet memories of eras past and the true gems they presented.

Please stop in often, I will try to keep you entertained by searching for rare and memorable clips.

Poetikat