19 December 2011

Delfort: 2. The Feast

This is "canto" two of a series concerning the journey of young Delfort, Prince of Darscinnia. For canto one, click here.

Canto Two.

Prince Delfort
by Kevin F. Story
The music of the night was the sound of people laughing, dishes clanging, and liquor pouring. It was safe to say that Mayor von Blochstorgg had spared no expense in preparing the prince’s repast. The port’s most prominent people gathered here for the prince’s party, accompanied by some of the finest faces in his father’s fiefdom. And it was Delfort’s first time seeing them in great numbers and all in one place.

A couple of captivating young ladies carried themselves up to the prince; pale beauties in silky gowns with tightly laced bodices to accentuate their femininity, as if to say, “’Tis good to be sixteen.” But, before words were waged, their faces blushed, giggles gushed, and they were gone. While Delfort was far from cursed with ugly countenance, he did seem outwardly awkward against the nightlife of Porte Godfrey.

Reginald sat off to one side, in one mitt a massive mug of mead and the other more than one man’s measure of mutton. Neither flagon nor fowl, booze nor beef were safe with Sir Reginald environs, and one could see the barrels of sack tremble at his approach.

The prince by this time had made his way over to where the knight was ceremoniously stuffing himself, and sat next to the man.

“So, are you enjoying yourself?” Reginald inquired amidst mouthfuls of mutton and mead. Bits of meat began to become infused with the knight’s moustache and sticky dribbles of drink.

“Well,” Delfort began, attempting to put his plight into parlance. “I’m not very good with… er… the ladies.”

Reginald slowed his devouring to a dull roar. “The ladies, eh?” Finally the knight’s focus put the food aside and faltered onto the females at the fĂȘte. “Pretty, aren’t they?” he remarked with a somewhat unnerving grin, picking his teeth with a shard of sheep bone.

The prince could only nod his assent.

Reginald relaxed in his chair as he finished the rest of his mutton in a single bite. “Well,” he offered thoughtfully, “have you tried talking to them?”

“Not as much, no,” replied Delfort.

“That would be the first step, lad.”

With that, Reginald took a long swig of mead, swished it around, swallowed with a disgustingly audible gulp, and turned around to have a look-see. Two such young ladies walked into his trap.

“Pardon me, ladies. Have you met my friend? He is the prince, you know.”

The ladies in question stopped to look at the young man before them. One was about Delfort's height, thin and freckly with beautiful green eyes that reflected torchlight magnificently. She wore glittering green and gold yarn in her garnet braids. The other, though shorter, was even more stunning, with dark, mysterious eyes that begged to be asked something intimately secret. Her onyx hair fell all the way to her tiny waist, below which round hips patiently waited. Some strands of that silky hair had escaped the pack to find themselves draped over her shoulders, framing what could only be described, in Reginald's inebriated estimation, as the palest, finest bosom in the land, certainly fit for a prince. These girls did what they did best—they giggled.

Reginald leaned into Delfort, whispering, “They’re all yours now.” With a slap on the prince's back he stood and sauntered off in search of something else with which to further stuff himself.

Delfort was alone. He could feel it. Fear and nausea began to set in. He heard the ladies giggling off in the distance, but turned to see them right before him, plain as day. He had no clue as to what to do or say next. He became frozen, working out every possibility, every scenario in his head, otherwise vacant to the world. The girls continued giggling, making Delfort more nervous as his mind settled on the only clear plan.

He stood and walked away, leaving the girls behind. He needed to find Reginald. He needed air. He needed—

“Hey. Watch where you’re going,” a gruff voice shouted.

Delfort noticed he wasn’t moving anymore. Rather, he was standing before a young man into whom he had apparently just walked.

Suddenly, Delfort remembered he was a prince.

“No, you watch where you’re going,” Delfort retorted cleverly.

The young man stared back. “You’re the prince, aren’t you?”

Delfort nodded haughtily.

The young man’s countenance changed. “Well, then, come. Sit at my table,” he said putting his arm around the prince and leading him onward. “I am called Pot.”


“Yes. I know,” laughed Pot, sitting the prince down and taking a seat himself. Delfort found himself at the far edge of the party and could easily see everyone else revelling in his visit.

Pot picked up his pipe and puffed upon it. Delfort supposed he was about his own age, though Pot was taller and had a sun-baked look to him. Pot also seemed very worldly. He knew his stuff. He did not seem particularly handsome to Delfort, but then, how was he to know?

“So, are you enjoying yourself, Highness?” asked this young man Pot as he lifted a cup to his lips.

“Well, er, I suppose,” replied the prince, eying the meagre loaf of bread and cups of liquor before him on the table.

“Go on. Have a cup.” Pot passed the prince a potable.

“Oh, no. I shouldn’t.”

“Come on. It’s your party, Highness,” persisted Pot.

After a moment, Delfort drank. Warm, spicy liquid entered his throat. He choked a bit.

Pot laughed. “Potent, eh?”

Delfort looked over his new acquaintance as the fiery water settled in his system, turning his cheeks crimson and burning his chest. He could not stop a smile from spreading across his face, and from somewhere above his eyebrows his voice said, “Yes.”

“Pot's punch, I call it. A bit sharp, this batch. Here. This mellows it out.” Pot pointed his pipe at the prince, who peered perplexedly at it. “Go on, Highness. My treat.”

Without warning, Delfort's hand grasped Pot's offering and raised it to Delfort's lips. The smoke's sweet smell disarmed the prince further, and he took a short puff. He coughed. His eyes floated around in his head a bit, then suddenly everything centred. He felt calm.

“Thanks,” Delfort squeaked, passing back the pipe. He cleared his throat and took another swig of Pot's punch, the wonderful brew coating his mind, telling it everything was going to be all right and why doesn't it just take a break for the next hour or so.

“I'm hungry,” Delfort asserted. Pot broke a piece of bread and handed it to the prince, which he finished in a few quick bites. Then he emptied the rest of his cup, which Pot promptly refilled. From somewhere behind him, his ears heard a familiar sound. He turned around.


The girls with garnet and onyx hair met his gaze and giggled over to him. The prince found them more stunning than before. He noticed the lighter-haired one's cute emerald dress and how it hung from her shoulders straight down to white sandalled feet. He noticed the other's blue and white number, complete with a dark leather cinch that nearly doubled her womanliness. Pot leaned into Delfort.

“I feel like a walk. Tread carefully yourself, Highness.”

Delfort was alone. But this time, he was in control.

“Have you beauties ever met a prince before?”

They looked at each other and giggled. The redhead blushed.

The brunette spoke first. “Our pleasure is to serve you, Your Highness,” she said curtseying slightly. They both giggled and blushed and looked at each other, then back at the prince.

Delfort held out his cup. “Care for a taste? It's good.”

The ladies looked at each other some more, then both moved closer to the prince.

“I'm Clara,” said the brunette. She put her hands on his as she sipped, then moved to wipe her young lips. Then she blushed and smiled.

“Jaclynne, my lord,” said the redhead. She took the cup from him and took the tiniest sip, passing it back quickly. She coughed a bit and giggled. Delfort took a sip himself and set the cup down.

“Are you ladies from around here?”

“Yes, my lord,” they said.

Then Clara, clearly the leader of the two, added, “Jaclynne and I were wondering if you could show us the royal chambers in the mayor's mansion. It's the only place in town we have never been, and we would be quite grateful.”


Prince Delfort's journey continues next time in "The Royal Chambers"...

16 December 2011

The Search

Abruptly he stood and stared blankly at his desk. He grabbed his coat and filled its pockets with a pen and paper, a canteen of water, his pipe, and various other things he deemed important. He pulled his hat on with a tug. Then, he wandered off in search of Nature.

He'd heard of Nature before, from his father, perhaps, or his great uncle. But he'd never seen Nature. Sure, he'd seen bits of it on T.V. or heard tapes of Nature relaxing people, but never had he been in Nature.

He had a hard time of it at first. It seemed to him that, as he got closer to Nature, one thing or another would remind him of the human world. Once he sat on a log by a pond, determined he'd finally found it, when a teen on a dirt bike tore over his head and down the trail, hysterical laughing in his wake. In another spot, he watched geese play in a pond, and became very sure he'd got it right this time, when one of the gaggle walked up to him with a candy bar wrapper in its mouth. Disgusted, he wandered on.

His feet ached as he walked, as his heart ached with anticipation of something elusive. Finding a fallen fir, he rested, sipping greatly from his canteen. He had beaten his own path here, more determined than ever to lose society. Looking around, he realized where he was: a clearing amidst a forest of fir. Each tree befriended him. He asked them, silently, how they had come to grow here, how many children each had, and why several of their brethren had fallen to form this clearing. Then, answering his own question, he noticed the stumps around him were clean-cut, and the ax lying on the tree beside him confirmed his suspicions. Taking another swig from his canteen, he wandered on.

13 December 2011

the warming

The winter won't be freezing anymore
The frost won't even dare to coat the grass
The snow won't come to spite the poor
The chill won't press against the door
The ice won't form where love has come to pass

10 December 2011

1. Prince Delfort's Virgin Voyage

This is the first part, a canto, if you will, of a series about the adventures of young Delfort, Prince of Darscinnia.

Canto One.

Prince Delfort
by Kevin F. Story
Prince Delfort had never before left the palace walls. It was his first excursion outside the great castle of Pilvar-sur-Weedlewhicke, a massive stone structure which, contrary to tradition, was hexagonal. His father, the beloved King of Darscinnia, conducted all his official business there. The prince peeked out the fine-clothed window of the royal carriage. They were just passing the heavy iron portcullis, hanging menacingly above. The brown moat stagnated underneath the wooden drawbridge, and a white carp jumped, making concentric circles in the otherwise quiet river. Tiny water bugs danced on the surface, and an occasional frog popped its beady eyes out of the murky stream.

The prince sat back somewhat uneasily in his seat, not knowing what to expect from this foreign world. It had been the command of his father that he go to the neighbouring castle of Bolle-Weaville, in the kingdom of Inglende, in order to settle a matter of courtship. You see, King Alabaster, as the prince's father was known, made a similar trip four and ten years ago, two years after the young prince was begotten, in order to betroth him to King Alcatrasse’s then-newborn daughter, Emilia. They agreed upon this over a considerably potent port wine, so long as the prince came by in his sixteenth year to officially propose.

Thus, Delfort’s regal cart rode along the long, dusty dirt road, through the town of Binglederry and across the meadows of Lea. Accompanying the prince were his servant, James, and King Alabaster’s most trusted gen d’arme, Sir Reginald of Cangreene. Sandy-haired James was about the same age as Delfort, having been raised for the sole purpose of servanthood. Thus brought up together, they were actually very good friends and very often talked about the things about which young men typically talked. Like Delfort, James was enjoying his own first look at the outside world, taking particular note of the broad range of colour on this glorious spring day: the deep emerald of the land, the vast blueness of the sky, the piercing hot yellow of the sun. In the remaining seats lounged Sir Reginald, who fought by the king’s side during wars with the Gregorians, a barbaric tribe from the north, and the Leonidians, an equally barbaric tribe from the south. The ruddy visage of the knight wore an extensive, bushy handlebar moustache to complement his eyebrows. Not only was the knight an excellent swordsman, but he could hold down a hogshead of whisky for a fortnight and retain sobriety, if necessary. At the present moment, he remained in contemplative silence.

They began their journey just after breakfast in order to make their first stop well before supper, in the bay-side village of Porte Godfrey, which appeared to be coming up in the distance. They could smell the salt in the air as they neared the waters of the Jambonne Bay, and they could almost taste the fresh lobster they would sup upon in town as guests of the mayor.


“Hail, Prince Delfort!” exclaimed a nasal voice belonging to the mayor of Porte Godfrey as attendants helped the prince out of his carriage. The mayor, a very distinguished gentleman topped by an over-powdered wig, adjusted the monocle before his left eye, bowed deeply, then introduced himself in a rather all-too-proud tone as Johannes von Blochstorgg. The prince bade him rise and take them inside.

“Certainly, your highness. Come right this way.”

Two claps sent the attendants away. The mayor led the group by a trail of floating powder through his manor and up a set of stone stairs to the guest chambers. Various tapestries and coats-of-arms decorated the grey walls of the ensuing corridor, along with sconces for torches by and by.

“I have secured the largest chamber for his Royal Mightiness, and the next room over should befit your entourage. I hope your loftiness does not mind the humble quarters upon which—whom—I have bestowed upon hem—him—you,” prattled Johannes von Blochstorgg absurdly. With a showman's gesture, he threw open the door to the room in question, exposing a comfortable bed of goose feathers and walls littered with paintings and the like.

The prince, eyeing the room unpleasantly, responded coldly, “This will do.”

The mayor took time from his eye-squinting and finger-crossing to realize the prince seemed to have found some favour with his lodgings; thus he bleated: “Oh, thank you, your gracious Excellency! You shan’t be displeased not never one bit!” With a hasty bow, Johannes excitedly scampered off, taking care to stumble in the correct direction down the corridor, to make sure that their evening feast was being prepared imminently and eminently.

The knight, silent until now, spoke first, and so he did whilst smoothing his thick moustache: “What a queer fellow!”

Delfort nodded in acknowledgement as he glanced about the room, putting the place into perspective. James thoroughly busied himself with inspecting, in fine detail, everything from the hand-crafted furniture to the exquisite view of the bay from their lofty balcony. His jaw fell open and could not conceive of closing, seeming to be on the verge of falling off as he became more and more amazed with his new surroundings. Delfort, however, was slightly less impressed.

“Honestly!” complained Delfort, resting his royal bottom on a large, oaken chest. “Couldn’t we have stopped in the village of Vaslegas, where the torches always stay lit? It’s at least ten fold as exciting as this hole.”

The armed escort retorted snappily (or snapped retortingly, depending on your point of view), “You’ve never even seen Vaslegas! All you've heard is they have some of the greenest tables in all of Darscinnia. And you know your father would have no part in you squandering away all his wealth!” His moustache recoiled as Reginald gave it a rather nasty tug.

As Delfort’s mouth opened, no doubt to offer some foul comment or other, Reginald raised his gauntleted hand. “There’s no use in arguing. Your father has commanded this, and so it must be. Don’t you want to see who you will rule beside? Don’t you want to inherit a kingdom twice the size of your father’s? Now, I don’t want to hear another complaint from you for the duration of the trip, do you understand?”

Delfort opened his mouth once again, and Reginald coolly put his hand to his hilt. The mouth closed.


And they went about the business of relaxing and preparing for the feast ahead of them.


Prince Delfort's journey continues next time in "The Feast"...

07 December 2011

sermon to myself

It doesn't make sense to be afraid of the world. It's the world. You're in it. And until you're out of it, you're stuck in it. There are scary things in the world, but face them. Make them scared of you. Or, better still, make them respect you. The respect you earn from your enemies is far greater than any other respect.

Make the most of life. Live it, love it. If you love everyone, then how can people hate you? If they do anyway, then what does it matter? You are you and, as long as you live in the light, they can't change that.

Having green slips of paper doesn't make you rich. Having valuable, fulfilling relationships does. Cherish each one, great and small. They'll save you when you need it most.

06 December 2011


Is it just me, or do other people find it difficult to focus on writing? I find I need definite structure, deadlines. I need someone to tell me what to write. I need to make the conditions favorable to such a task, but I'm not sure if it's more coffee or more scotch that I need. Is it too cold or too hot? Does my sweater have an anti-creativity property? I'm drowning in words that have no meaning and no order. The stories swirl around my head and tangle themselves into an unmanageable mess. Was it the wealthy banker poisoning the prince locked in a bell tower who ate the wrong pudding at the bus stop while elves danced merrily on the hot coals in Thailand? It sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it. I just sit here getting fatter, hairier. Maybe I'll explode one day. That would be exciting. Hair and guts everywhere. And the words would be gone; the story, a memory. The sweater washed and sold at Goodwill.

23 November 2011


One myth defeats itself
Lithographs through Vaseline lenses
Lending pretense to this sprawling shell
Yelling proudly about its merits
When reality is bleaker
On Sunset, on Vine
Originality it has, but it's not

18 November 2011

Are you there?

Mother Earth, can you hear me?
It's been so long.
You are cold, lifeless in places.
Mother Earth, can you feel me?
These trees are not what they were.
Your rivers are cold, lifeless in places.
Mother Earth, can you save me?
The cars and scrapers and slaughterhouses empty me.
They bring the cold, the lifelessness in your places.
Mother Earth, can I touch you?
I know God is in there somewhere.
He's hiding from the billions—cold, lifeless as they are.
Mother Earth, can I help you?
It's too much, too big a project.
But I want to warm, to bring life.
Mother Earth, I am so sorry.
So sorry that my peers and predecessors have treated you poorly.
I weep over your coldness, your lifelessness.
I become cold and lifeless in your absence.
Mother Earth, can you save me?
Maybe we can save each other.
Mother Earth?
Are you anywhere?

29 October 2011

In the Studio

Silent but powerful
The stick on a stand
Electronic and ampliphonic
In front of the band
Or behind it, around it; surround it
Here to there
To transmit some waves
Ear to where
Ringing that room or street
To protest or inquest or suggest
Change: to change, for change, sick change, hate change
Bionic sonic infest

20 October 2011

as the protest begins
who wins
when its ends made whet
are met?

13 August 2011


Where the sewer runs off to the creek
So much decay, so much poison
The rusty water bleeds freely from the rock
To join the ocean

two men

Two men sat at two tables eating a meal.

One man's meal was worth nothing to him, and he complained about it the whole while. He wanted to pay nothing for it. He thought he'd paid too much.

The other man's meal was worth everything to him. He thanked God, for the meal saved his life. He was disappointed, though, that he wanted to pay dearly for the meal but had nothing to give.

Who among them should feel remorse? Who of them is most deserving?

23 July 2011

to c.

I'm sorry. I guess it's really not about you. It's definitely about me. I have an incredibly broken heart about the whole thing still, and you can't fix it. You can't replace her. Get it? And I can't help that every time I see you I'm reminded of that gaping wound, that place where everything I'd latched onto over 10, 15 years was suddenly ripped out. Maybe not suddenly. It was slowly, over a few weeks. It was painful. And I still have that pain, but I'm lighter now. I'm getting over it. I'm moving on.

You can't replace her. I know, you're probably not trying, but I thought I'd put it out there. She was the one I looked up to, she made me who I am today. She was the most important person in my life, and I realise that now looking back. It was how she understood; it was how she made everyone feel good, feel welcome. We had disagreements, arguments, but I needed them. They shaped me. We connected.

I'm still angry at him, too, you know. I haven't been able to forgive him, and I know I should, and I kind of have, but I still haven't. How could he throw all that away? He asked us before he married her. He wanted to make sure we were OK with it, that this was the right thing to do, and we said yes. Very yes. We accepted. We walked down the aisle with her. We all became one that day.

Could he just have figured out how to make it work? How to fix his life so life could be worth the cost of living? We depended on them being together. Well, I did. I guess I can't speak for the others. I depended on them. They were home.

I realised in those tense, trying few weeks that he could never fix anything. He couldn't do it the first time. I realise how scummy he must have been, seeing it now with adult eyes. And I realise the second time, he must not have even tried, that every time she came back, she was doing it for love of him, but he never saw it. He was too bleary-eyed, too engrossed in other things. He couldn't find center. I'm not sure he has.

And with you, he didn't ask. He didn't ask me, anyway. Who knows if he asked anyone else, but he didn't have my approval. My heart was shattered already. I have no one else to give it to. I don't have a family anymore. It's broken.

I know, this sounds too dramatic, it's a fabrication of the theatrical life that drives me to write these words, but I have to tell you they are what I feel. They are me now. And I have to live the rest of my days with them. They stick in my chest sometimes, they make my back hurt, and sometimes they crawl into my brain and water my cheeks. But I live on. And I'm getting over it, I really am. But you have to keep out of it. Leave me to my brokenness. I'll build something stronger that cannot break. I'll build my own damn family.

It's not your fault, believe me. You're just in the wrong place. I'm sorry.

10 July 2011

writing on a plane

...in a plane?


it's possible to fly across this great land
in hours, time well-planned
in the bright blue with bits of white below
pockets of air cause the ship to rock
invisible but powerful
hours full of bumpy flight

does a great power still work this earth?
are the tornadoes violent?
are the thunders booming?
do floods and plagues still flood and plague us?
are we listening?

24 June 2011


the old among us say
we're young
there's time
gin with lime
to sip as the cup drips
the clock
doing nothing to shift this block
i must move it
prove my work is worth it
to this earth
time was meant for breaking
art for making
before we depart

17 May 2011

raining freedom

raining rapping robbing time chiming whining wind dinned sinning sting ringing bringing thinging thinly dimly limply plinks thinks stinking drinks dreams reams greens freedom

02 May 2011

railroad crossing

I chased him across the tracks just east of Jamaica station. He was fast, and jumping over the electrified rails made me feel like I was in some sick video game. The station was quiet at 3AM, not that I could tell over my heaving breaths or pounding chest. A loud horn cut through, though. Shit, I thought as the 3:02 was fast approaching on the far track which he effortlessly just cleared. If I didn't make it, I'd lose him. Or end up on the morning news...

My legs were burning, but I had no choice. I had to make it.

Edward the Preacher Boy

The night came quickly. I came in when the AA people got to the church to open up so I could practice my piano. Since Gene the choir director died, the people at the church asked me if I wanted to play for them, as a temporary thing until they found someone new. I wasn't doing anything, so I said sure. On Tuesdays, after I'm done with whatever after-school stuff I'm doing, I ride over to the church to practice, and on Thursdays I play for the four or five people who come to sing in the choir. I've been teaching myself how to play the organ... all those feet and hands and pedals and buttons. It's nerve-wracking. I can almost play with my left foot.

I'm seventeen. I know I look younger than that, but you're gonna have to deal with it.

The first few weeks after my new job started, my Tuesdays were spent half practicing, half sorting music. I developed a system for sorting the new music and the old music. The new music goes chronologically from soonest to latest in the grey box, and the old music goes alphabetically in the black box. Then the music cycles to and from the back room, where all the church's music is in two tall filing cabinets that date back to the jurassic period. But Gene hadn't kept things sorted, so now I was going through piles and piles of music that hadn't found their folders, or didn't have folders. It was a menial task, but it kept me busy.

As a seventeen-year-old, I am acutely aware that my “look” doesn't appeal to the female of my generation. I'm scrawny and pale. I do have bright blue eyes, but I think they sit too close together, and besides, my glasses get in the way. My hair is brown and uninteresting; I hate haircuts as much as George Harrison did. But I don't play guitar until my fingers bleed. I get bored.

That is to say, I have spent some time trying to get the attention of girls. But the first time I ever got it is when I wasn't even trying. I was practicing.

Like I said, it got dark earlier than usual, but I was still in the sanctuary pounding away at the keys. I always made sure all the doors were closed so the sound wouldn't bleed too much into the hallway and disturb the AA meeting. That didn't stop recovering alcoholics from poking in and listening for a while. I didn't care too much; if they wanted to listen, let them. Far be it from me to interfere with their recoveries.

At this particular moment I was trying to play with my eyes closed and failing at it. Occasionally I'd have to open my eyes to change chords or if my fingers weren't where I thought they would be. Watching blind people play piano got me into it; I figured I should learn in case I ever went blind. Now, I can play without even looking at the piano at all. That's what practice does.

Out of the corner of my squinting eyes I saw a girl my age or slightly older leaning in the far doorway, in the back of the sanctuary. I had a feeling she was pretty, which surprised me. I never saw pretty people coming in or out of AA, but maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. I didn't want to glance at her because I didn't want her to go. I decided to play further up the piano so maybe I could see more of her out of the corner of my eye.

She looked pretty from what I could tell: short round black hair; thin. She didn't take up much of the doorframe, so probably not tall. She was dressed in blacks and greys. That's all I could see without making my eyes hurt from straining.

She began showing up regularly to my practice sessions and I got to see more of her bit by bit. She was absolutely pretty, but in a broken sort of way. She was thin with a roundish face. She always wore black, grey, white. Sometimes there was a hint of red or purple, but not often. She'd sit in the back, then she'd stand in the aisle in the back, and eventually I stopped thinking about her too much so that I didn't have to constantly play when she was there. I would sort music while she was there, and that was OK, apparently; she didn't leave right away.

One day I was kneeling on the ground sorting music using the front pew as a table and not paying attention. I'm almost always paying attention, but I guess I was tired, or maybe I hadn't had enough coffee that day, and suddenly she was sitting in the front pew about three yards from where I was sorting music.

“Whatcha doing?” she asked. I knew that's how she sounded!

“Sorting music. It's dull.” I looked at her. She was staring straight ahead, maybe looking at the piano. Her hands were in her lap and her knees touched, making her feet turn in in that cute way that girls sometimes turn their feet in when they sit. See? I'm babbling now. That's what happens to me.

“How'd you get here?” she asked.

“Drove.” I drive a 1986 Chevy whose red paint is very quickly wearing off. Still drives like a champ, even if I have to drive with one working wiper in the rain.

She looked at me and scrunched her face. It was damn cute. “Damn” is the only curse word I afford myself.

“You're not old enough,” she said.

“I'm seventeen,” I told her.

“No shit,” she said. I panicked for a second and looked at the unadorned cross above the chancel, which made her say plainly, “Sorry, God.”

I shrugged as if it hadn't bothered me, even though it so clearly had, and went back to sorting. “Preacher Boy,” they sometimes called me at school. Idiots.

“Are you really seventeen?” she asked.


“Cool,” she nodded. “Me, too.”

I looked at her. She had green eyes.

“I'm Liana,” she said. She put out her hand to me. She didn't look like a Liana.

“Edward,” I said. I took her hand. It was cold, but soft. Her fingernails were painted deep red. She had beautiful hands. Instinctually I put my other hand on top of hers, to warm it, and looked at her green eyes. She wasn't smiling, but I'm pretty sure those eyes were.

Sorting music isn't fun exactly, but it's something that needs to be done, and it gave me something to occupy myself so I didn't have to look at her the whole time and melt into a steaming puddle of flesh seeping into the red carpet. So, after I let her hand go, a while went by with just the sound of paper moving. I was nervous. She was just sitting there. Couldn't tell you what she was thinking. She could have been thinking anything. Why was this seventeen-year-old stuck at a church sorting music? Why did he look like he was fourteen? Is Edward even a cool name? She could have been thinking anything. Until she slid closer and leaned into me.

“Can you drive me home?”

I stopped.

“How'd you get here?” I asked.

“It doesn't matter. Can you drive me?”

“Why are you here?”

“Edward.” My heart skipped a beat. I never liked my name before.

“Sorry, it's AA, isn't it?” I asked, being vague.

She sighed. “Look, I had a problem, I've been dealing with it, and I'm trying to stay away from it. I've been sober for a few weeks now. But if you tell anyone I'm here, I'll kill you.”

My eyes went wide. I didn't want them to. I wanted to look tough, or calm, or indifferent. Fail.

Originally I thought this girl was there with her father or mother or someone else, just tagging along or offering support. Apparently she had been drinking for who knows how long. I couldn't imagine that. Not to say I don't believe in drinking; I have the occasional glass of wine with dinner if I'm invited to do so. It's OK stuff, but not something I'd go at in large quantities on a daily basis.

“I won't tell anyone. Promise,” I said.


“How did you get here?” I asked again.

She turned away. “Someone drove me,” she said finally. Then she turned back to me and added “Please?”

Why did she want me to drive her home? Me? Of all the guys she could probably get in the world, all of whom would be jumping for joy to drive her home, why would she want me? I'm just a straight-laced white boy who likes music and theatre. It's a wonder I like girls.

Then I remembered, she's here because of AA. She's a recovering alcoholic... a seventeen-year-old recovering alcoholic. Which probably means she's dangerous in some way, reckless or something. Maybe she's too dangerous for some of these guys. She's damaged. She's unclean. She's scared.

I wanted to help.

“Yeah, let's go.”

29 April 2011

thinking of earth day...

...which was last week, i know, but this poem keeps coming up in my mind. "Paumanok" is a Native American word for Long Island, NY. Whitman wrote a poem "Paumanok," which is what got me started. the events are recalled from stories, probably mythic, told by some of my teachers when i was in elementary school.


Oh Proud Paumanok

Oh proud Paumanok, where have you come?
Your shores are black with filth and scum.
Your air, once pure and clean, now chokes,
For all its cars expel their smokes.
How many shopping malls must we have,
Pillars of salt and golden calve?
Paved with some intentions and concrete
To lay on Paumanok one more street.
The parkway Floyd destroyed one town:
Diner and general store torn down.
Housing developers killed the farms
And people flocked here, came in swarms.
Before my time, still on my mind:
No place to hang out, nothing to find.
Fast food places grace town square.
(To call it that is quite unfair.)
The only good this town retains:
The vast Pine Barrens, semi-pure, remain.
The forest largely has been traded
For apartments, offices, humanity jaded.
Of cars and people, the ever-present hum—
Oh, proud Paumanok! where have you come?

Oh proud Paumanok, where have you gone?
Your once bright shores with fishers on?
Once vastly forested, oaked and pined;
Flora and fauna less confined.
Highways scarce and farms abound
And to the north a crystal sound.
Gem of New York! Its tourmaline tail!
Whose men, like Ahab, hunted whale;
For whale-like, fish-like island form
Dropped in the midst of ocean warm.
Or, on winter’s day, Great South froze over,
And sled became an ocean rover.
Across to Fire Island they’d go
To brave the bluffs of solid snow.
Ice cutters out on Lake Success
Or Ronkonkomathe bottomless.”
When water turned the Yaphank mill,
No water tower stood upon Jayne’s Hill.
When natives paddled the Peconic,
Free was Shoreham of plant catatonic.
There are battles lost and battles won—
But, oh, proud Paumanok! where have you gone?

Oh proud Paumanok, where are you going?
Farmland selling and no more growing?
Corn, potatoes, richest crops,
Vineyards abandoned for blacktops.
Houses building for some higher class,
Cookie-cutter’d, powered by natural gas.
Where from are these people coming,
Living costs rising and commerce numbing?
Mom and Pop have left the isle;
Needs are met in another aisle.
Is there no end to this destruction?
Can there be no slight reduction?
We ask for peace, yet monger war;
We close the window, but lock the door;
We aim to protect, to conserve,
But also we deplete reserves.
Our island Long sinks every day
To know such people claim its clay.
Tribute taken we must replace;
Poor Paumanok lies in gilded grace!
Our island needs us to repent!
To find simplicity! to fix our dent!
This cavity is finally showing—
Oh, proud Paumanok! where are you going?

Kevin F. Story
19 Jan 08; rev. 21 Jan 08

16 March 2011

Give Me the Strength

Here's a good worship opener for church. Feel free to use and record your own!

This was written for Sunday worship at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Huntington Station, NY, the church were I was baptised. I was the musician there one summer and needed a song to fill in the prelude slot one Sunday, so... "Give Me the Strength" came out.

Give Me the Strength
by Kevin Story

Lord, give me Your words to sing
To Your people gathered worshipping
Speak through my fingers and my voice
We all in You want to rejoice

Give me the strength, Lord, to live like Your Son
Give me courage, Lord, to show how it’s done
We want to rise up and sing to the sky
Singing Your praises, Your name to glorify

Lord, open my eyes to You
So I can see what You want me to
Help me spread Your holy light
And grant the world this awesome sight

Give me the strength, Lord, to live like Your Son
Give me courage, Lord, to show how it’s done
We want to rise up to reach for Your light
Even one ray, Lord, would make it all all right

Lord, I lift my heart to You
My joys and sins for You to view
Clean me, make me your instrument
Use me to spread your wonderment

Give me the strength, Lord, to live like Your Son
Give me courage, Lord, to show how it’s done
We want to rise up and shout throughout the earth
Spreading the Good News, starting a rebirth

E     | F#/E      | Am6/F#  Am6/B  | E     | E     | F#/E     | Am6/F#  Am6/B  | E     |

Amaj7     | G#m7  C#m7  | Amaj7     | G#m7  Dadd2  | Amaj7     | G#m7  C#m7  | D     | G     | A6/B     |      |

D     | A     | E  A/E  | Am6/B  E  |

© 2005, Kevin F. Story

For Bethany Presbyterian Church
21 August, 2005

25 February 2011

steal this song

i wrote this song with the intent that it be stolen. well, hopefully not stolen out of malice or greed. (i doubt that's happening here.) with so much unrest and stuff in the world today, i hope folks will learn this song their own way and post their own versions of it and share it with their friends. it's all about spreading the message of PEACE and LOVE, and proclaiming our basic rights to FREEDOM and CHOICE. (if you're one of those folks who "steals" this song, let me know!)

i turned 26 last week, a feat i never thought imaginable. but it does make one wonder about what one is doing with one's life. i recall hearing that Neil Young was upset people of my generation weren't doing anything, making music about what was going on in Afghanistan & Iraq; well, here's to hopin' we can start a fire. or something.

by Kevin Story
(c) 25 Feb 2011

1. Everybody wants peace
So peace is our song
Sing a song of peace right now
You know it can't be wrong (2x)

Guns, hate, prison state
Take 'em away
Take 'em away for a brighter day
Peace, love, freedom, choice
Raise up your voice
Raise up your voice
Raise up your voice!

2. Everybody wants love...
3. Everybody wants freedom...
4. Everybody wants choice...
5. Everybody wants peace...

G C | G C | G C | G C | F   | C   | G C | G   |

D   | C   | G C | G C | D   | C   | C   | F Bb | F Bb | F Bb | F Bb | G C | G C | G C | G   |

20 February 2011

The Actor

“You—she—the priestess—is like a prune: a long, thin, prune whose juice has been sucked out and all the sweetness is gone. Perhaps she is more like a raisin; formerly a tight, tart grape, whose juice has been sucked out and any sweetness that might have existed is completely gone. Yes, like a raisin. You see? Tight, sour, dry. Tart. She could be your age, but she's assuredly old before her time. We'll try it when we come to it. Let's go back.”

The aged actor spouted lines interspersed with direction and character study. His analogies grew with each sentence. Every year for the last thirty, this man played the same role in the same adaptation of the same story which he also directed. No longer did he need the wig and makeup he once religiously donned, for Nature had provided the perfect mask by this time.

Jacob Goldsmith was revered in the region, humble as he was, as one of the greatest dramatists in the area. His annual presentation of A Miser's Miracle was the social event of the year for many. They were drawn by the amazing scenes, the fabulous performances, and magical effects that they felt rivaled those of hallowed Broadway, a mere fifty miles away. For this was not a professional theatre by any stretch; the seats were held together with duct tape and old gauze, and the bare wall showed through where paint had chipped away. Here was a theatre that existed solely for the love of theatre and not the love of money.

For thirty years the master studied these characters, now firmly rooted, ubiquitous in his mind, though every year he discovered something new about each, and their relations to his own character might change as did his understanding. He retold the old American story of the miser who lives by himself and shuns society, refusing to make charity or embrace change. One evening he awakens to find his bed floating above the earth, transported to some foreign land. He meets people along the way who remind him of himself, and of his former youth; it opens his heart. When he returns to his bedchamber, he is a new man, and he opens his coffers to help the poor and needy and throws his arms gratefully around his fellow man.

Jacob sneered and the beggar children approached him. “This is America,” he growled in his miser voice, pointing a gnarled finger. “Let them work for their own money.”

Young, aspiring actors who found out about this theatre and this production soon wanted to be involved. There was something in the wisdom of Jacob Goldsmith that suited him to mentorship. Not to mention the children who involved themselves at the behest of their parents came away with something much greater than that with which they started. By this time, there were over a hundred children who had been involved in Miracle, and some were grown up and had children who got involved as well. The legacies abounded, and it did not go unnoticed by Jacob, who kept very careful records in his filing cabinet of a brain.

“When you come at me, Charles,” Jacob said to a hulking young man, “I want you to think more about your own pain—his own pain. The spirit is in great torment. Obviously, you and I have experienced nothing like what this spirit has gone through and is going through, but I want you to substitute painful episodes in your own life and apply them here: the times you did wrong, the times you were helpless, the times you were sorrowful. Apply them all here and give me a great big cloud of pain, sadness. Fear.”

Charlie Campbell often sat back when he was off-stage and thought about Jacob's accomplishments. This was Charlie's third year, and he still felt he had so much to learn. He observed that Jacob seemed undaunted to revisit this material year in and year out; in fact, Jacob seemed to revel in it, taking the opportunity to actually direct something that meant the world to him. He wanted it to mean the world to everyone.

“I'm sorry, was that my cross? Did I miss it? Dreadful sorries. Let's go back.”

Jacob had been playing the old miser since he was twenty years old. When he hit thirty, he realized that he was too young to have understood the subtle nuances of the miser's character. He spent the first ten years simply yelling loudly, and gesticulating loudly, and generally being unbearable to watch after some time. Audiences still loved it; he was a good writer and a talented director. In that tenth year, he started over and rewrote the entire adaptation based on his new discoveries about the miser and the people he met on his journey. There was less yelling and more glaring, more staring, more sneering. “Audiences eat it up,” as Jacob would often say.

The eager apprentice quickly turned into the stingy businessman, then withered into the shriveled hermit, becoming the old miser. He relived his past in various scenes, much like going through an old photo album where the dust always stirs with each turned page. “May you learn that love is the only thing in life worth having,” said the apprentice's kind, jovial master. It was a refrain from something else, something Jacob heard before in some other story, some other play. But he used it. “Why create something new when the old thing does a better job?” he said.

When asked about the young dowager who, some thought, showed a bit too much skin, Jacob would say, “It's something to warm a cold man's heart,” another of his aphorisms. (He knew a flash of flesh would keep some husbands and bachelors as regular customers, no doubt.) Also, he often and repeatedly drew obscure lines from countless other plays to toss into casual speech. “It's something you can always depend on,” he would say to whomever played Georgia, the maid, “you know, like the kindness of strangers.”

While Jacob always played the old miser, the character he dealt with most was that of the tormented spirit visitor; for, he would say, the spirit is the one who brings about the ultimate change in the miser. The spirit, hovering above the scene as if on his own cloud, pointed at the starving, huddled masses downstage, saying, “The poor exist to remind us to count our blessings, and if we have trouble counting that high, to give until it's easy.”

Some days in rehearsal, Jacob stood center stage rubbing his eyes, his blue button-down shirt puffed out in the back and his shoulders hunched as he thought, or acted, whichever he was doing. Other times he walked around the house, across and back through each row with the miser's walking stick, shouting “Louder!” and “More connection! More feeling!” Watching the scenes, his scenes, unfold on that stage, he'd admonish a young girl, saying, “No, no. Am I embarrassing you? I hope so. Now, give the boy a real hug, my dear. He's not diseased, you know.” And thus the play would come together, take form and shape, grow as tall as giants, to tower above the audience when the curtain rose.

Each performance, year after constant year, was a triumph. Full houses wept, laughed, and clapped, cheering loudly when Jacob took his grateful bow. “It's for the audience,” he would say to those cast members missing their curtain call manners. “It's for the audience, not the ego.”

One year during rehearsals, Jacob developed a nasty cough which persisted despite medication and hot tea with lemon. He endeavored to carry a handkerchief with him for the run of the show, for he would not miss it—“even for six magic beans,” he said. It was one day during rehearsals the cough was especially bad. He sat on the bed and heaved greatly. A few cast members rushed to his side and rubbed his back, whispering their sympathies. One ran for a glass of water. Jacob signaled that he'd lay down, and others let him. The coughing subsided, but he held his torso tightly. After a moment of staring vaguely, as oft he would when inventing new direction or redeveloping a character, he instead said plainly, “Will someone take me up the hill?”

Most of the cast went with Jacob to the hospital up the hill from the theatre. Doctors were puzzled, and nurses could only assure them. Day by day his situation worsened. Then one day, with most of the cast and some from past productions gathered around him, he leaned back on his pillow. “Now I, too, shall truly float away in my bed to distant lands,” he said. And then, like all the distinguished throughout time, he faded away.

And the lights went to black.

08 February 2011

drowning in mid-air

where we live blown by the wind
we are unready to stand
there are no roots to hold
boldly blowing back as if it could help

is it that we have sinned
to come so far without a hand
absurdly seeking far-off gold
it's sold and we are left merely to yelp

27 January 2011


Silently the shroud of white
Nestles on the earth
Ornamenting the land with
Wet crystals
Falling gracefully, floating cheerfully
Landing and bonding to form an
All-encompassing blanket
Kept neatly unbroken by feet or shovels
Evoking warmth though ever cold, for
Surely the winter can be both

10 Feb 10

26 January 2011

more "love song"

another few paragraphs of my short story "love song". read the rest here.


It was like him to sit and stare off, despite the distractions around him. Maybe it's what made him the musical genius he was. “Beauty is everywhere,” his manager would say, counting twenties in the coach van as it slid along the highway into the desert. Still the songwriter was absorbed in his musical fantasies. When the thought of having even just one drink with a lady was brought up, he'd fidget and flick his fingernails under each other, mumble something like “yeah, we'll see,” and go back to his inner sanctum.

Another show, another crowd of adoring women, another bar, another night wondering what was really going on in that head of his. Sometimes it seemed like a spirit wanted to jump out of him and grab the first gal it could, wrapping her with its spirit arms and wooing her with its spirit words, but a great force kept it back, made it abide. The great wall stood, seemingly impenetrable. Female fans flocked to him, and he nodded and signed in silence, making those girls want him so much more. He finished with a flick of his hat and stomped off with his hands wringing in front of him. I shook my head.

Across the desert in another town, I decided to give a little more of a push. During the show, I scanned the crowd for a young lady who the great singer might take a liking to. There were plenty to choose from, but after chatting some of them up, I decided on one pretty-looking girl in particular. She was brunette, leggy, and sported a great pair of glasses, the true sign of an intelligent woman. I thought maybe the great musician might be attracted to a little more than just perfection of form. We talked for a bit after the final set, and I explained my plan to her. She was thrilled, to say the least, and she offered a time and place, a nice saloon not far from where we were staying. I said we'd see her there.

12 January 2011

an excerpt from DAY CAMP

here's a chapter from my newly-completed and in-the-process-of-being-edited novel(ette). whatcha think?


“You can't do it! You can't do it!” Anna bellowed from one of the benches.

The group sat at the red picnic tables in the center of everything: the sports field, the church, Ms. Annie's white building. They tore out lunch bags and devoured their contents with haste, as if they needed to finish before something catastrophic happened. Their counselor, at the head of the tables, read one of those teen magazines with big pictures and brightly-colored fonts.