Amtrak train rolling

through Nebraska wee hours

a stop in Omaha

got off train in full darkness

no fields or pastures to view.

BEASTLY BUT BEAUTIFUL (flash fiction(?))

The assignment was to place Huckleberry Finn in modern day New York and write a short story.  I was a high school kid in the 80s and only spent a few field trips in New York.  Of course, I watched many TV shows and I did have my imagination. 

Mr. V didn’t cotton to me.  I was a dirty, wrong side of the tracks kid and he was a GQ preppie.  I figured I would just go balls to the wall on my yarn.  I set the tale in Harlem and had Huck running into prostitutes and drag queens and trying two kinds of Mary Jane (One a plant and one a Ho for the naïve among us.)

I turned in a completely uncensored tale fully expecting to be failed and possibly sent to the principal’s office.  I skipped school for fear of repercussion.  Then I learned that Mr. V loved my story and read it out loud for the entire class.  He had to censor spots due to complaints of two classmates.

I returned to class greeted with a smile from the first fan of my literary stylings.  The class discussed my story.  Mr. V managed to use the word beastly twice in a 45 minute period.  I did take it as a badge of honor—as he was talking about my poetry and fiction. Ït’s beastly but beautiful.”  They say don’t judge a book by its cover and I think 2 people learned a lesson that week.


I could not find you,

     my dear

You were hiding behind

Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park

     and I, um—

I was looking for you

along Belmont Plateau

in Fairmount Park in Philly

And my vision not

being bionic or X-ray

was unable to detect

     your presence

or lack thereof

THRU PERIPHERAL VISION: Schaefer, George F: 9798790939471: Books


It seems like just about anything can set a gimp off these days.  You tune in to watch wrestling figuring you’re gonna have an easy relaxing time.  The cowboy wrestler doing cowboy shit comes out to the ring to confront a rival,  He’s wearing a pink T-shirt.  Closer inspection reveals a picture of Dolly Parton.  It seemed like an appropriate shirt to me.

Dolly in pink

quite apropos to me

yet complaints abound

I just watch the scene and feel entertained.  It was greatly amusing until I made the mistake of going online and seeing how the Twitterverse and Metaverse will react.  It seems that a lot of conservative snowflakes were having a meltdown.  They couldn’t understand why he was trying to be so woke with his choice of attire.  Are you fucking kidding me?  Woke?  What cowboy (even if he isn’t a real one) doesn’t like Dolly Parton?  Or are we really that insecure?  My God!  A man is wearing a pink T-shirt?  When will this political correctness ever end?  You really have to wonder how insecure some of these people are with their own sexuality.  I almost feel compelled to order a pink Dolly Parton T-shirt myself. 

Outing the assholes

a simple singer in pink

sweetly crooning tales

bitter argument ensues

feeble minds left uncensured


And I look at her

and we talk about pot

and her boyfriend

and I like

to bring up

the Grateful Dead

which she feels

is quite silly


But I do detect

a trace

of intrigue

that says, maybe,

just maybe,

under different circumstances

that we could be

and though we dart eyes

to  avoid contact

and feign indifference

under the God Almighty

name of friendship

I think that it might

be a good idea

to re-examine

the situation

because it would be

a crying shame

if we never knew

and just went by

with a few jokes

and a handful

of scattered smiles

but we may never know

because fate arranged things

with such timing

as to see that

you & I

would misconnect


It can be really intense when you take acid and I’m not talking about fake shit.  I mean reality and real intensity.  There was one time when I dosed with a few friends.  It was good liquid about 250 mikes a hit.  I indulged in two hits.

We were restless so someone go the bright idea to cruise over to Lambertville and climb the Devil’s Tea Table.  This was a small mountain in New Jersey that had a small rock formation at the top known as the Devil’s Tea Table.

So now you have 6 guys with heads full of acid climbing a mountain at sunset with a single flashlight.  Everyone made it up the mountain alive but it the sun had quickly faded into night.  It was time to head back down the mountain.  The batteries in the flashlight went dead on us so we were trying to use lighters.  The lighters didn’t provide much in the way of light.  The crescent moon wasn’t providing much help either.

There were points that it was real dark.  You could occasionally hear animals and insects and it was hard to see what you were stepping on.  It was a dangerous game played in the dark.  I remember almost stepping off a cliff.  A couple times tree branches sought for support were snapped by our weight.

There were portions of the descent, I was simply on my back sliding down the cliff slowly.  It was a truly life affirming experience.  My survival instincts kicked into overdrive.  I was like:  “ I want to live!  I WANT TO LIVE!”  

Let me get down off this mountain.  I reached a point that I didn’t care about the dirt.  I didn’t care about the bugs or  the poison ivy.  I just want to get down off this mountain.  We all used our voices to guide one another and we all slowly made our way down the mountain.

“I want to live!” and live I did.  We all got down the mountain alive and returned to a friend’s house.  We were all hyperventilating.  A couple guys left and went home.  There’s a couple guys from this night that I never saw again.

A couple of us dropped another hit and drank some more beer.  It was now morning.  The TV was on and somehow the channel we turned on featured Jimmy Swaggart putting on a hilarious performance.  He was pointing out all us sinners.  We were all in stitches laughing at his sermon.  It was incredibly funny at that particular moment.

To put it in context, I foolishly risk my life on a mountain for no good reason and return to this shit:  a flimflam preacher related to Jerry Lee Lewis going on a rampage.  It takes a strong dose of acid to be able to appreciate the subtle absurdity of the moment.  Kareem Abdul Jabbar was right.  The dilemmas life throws at us are often rather insane and absurd but at least now we can all laugh about it.


You can lie to me.  That’s okay.  I’ll probably figure it out and no one will really get hurt.  But you keep lying to yourself and that’s really an emotional and psychic cancer.  But like a portrait of Dorian Gray in the attic, you’ll keep the deterioration hidden from view.  You know the cancer is spreading but it isn’t visible so you can smile and I can pretend. And the pain and the depression continues and it deepens.  You refuse the surgery that can remove the tumor.  And the lies just get deeper but you’re only really fooling yourself and maybe some mindless social media followers who don’t care about your soul.

You can lie to me

but if you lie to yourself

the disease will spread

eating away the spirit

your internal organs first

Cannibalized Haibun: Schaefer, George: 9798416456573: Books

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS WITH SALAD (a response to Homer Simpson)

They always say that no great story begins with “I ordered a salad.” You also have Homer and Bart mercilessly mocking Lisa with their taunt of “You don’t win friends with salad.”

But I beg to differ on this short-sighted attitude.  I did recently have an evening that started off with a salad.

Of course, upon first taste, I noticed that they may have used a substitute for oregano when seasoning the salad.  It was a curious flavor and I thought Pepe Le Pew might approve.  And as I took a few bites and try to guess what kind of mushrooms they were using in the salad.  I quickly ruled out shitake, baby morel and portobello.

Suffice to say, the evening became increasingly animated as the sun set over a mountain and the stars began to twinkle in the sky.  It ended up being a long, long night and the server of that salad did in fact win a friend.

salad for Deadheads

an illuminating taste

set soul on fire

an evening fully captured

bright colors and light resound

Cannibalized Haibun: Schaefer, George: 9798416456573: Books