His was a life of bricks and the skillful hands to lay them, fast and capable hands as adept as machines. His was a history thrown with gale force at walls and buildings all over town, a long constructive life of making things to last. Everywhere now in his decline were the monuments of his having passed that way, standing in red clay and mortar, signs of a man’s existence no less expressive than those of whatever poet you might wish to mention.

As a part of the writer’s group I work with, aptly titled “Writer’s Bloc” — the “k” omitted on purpose — I set out to put something down out of a long distant memory. The subject of the assignment was “a piece of mail.” The memory I eventually picked was not entirely accurate or truthful perhaps, but in spirit one of my favorites. The time I chose was WWII. The experiences are still vivid to me and it was a period of history I was curiously fond of, in spite of the “seriousness” of it all.

I have reached a moment in my life when my various mental functions seem to have gone south, or at least are heading in that direction. At going on seventy-seven years old, many of my old abilities of past celebration have indeed deserted me. As a member of a small writers group, I am faced once a month, with an “assignment” to fulfill. It has become something of a difficult task of late. It is, however nothing I find discouraging in any way. And so last December I decided to tempt fate and go where what remaining creativity would take me. The subject of the assignment was something like “Humphrey Bogart revisited.”

by Steve Gaines

Several years ago, as an adjunct teacher of television production, I was responsible for a tutorial in the fine points of distance learning while with the University of Nebraska Lincoln. I had two post doctoral students from India who were both physicists. Both these very intelligent students could not understand how I was so interested in their field of study, but still so incapable of understanding its finer points. I wrote the following piece for their benefit. I must admit that it did not help them accept my ignorance in any way. But it did occupy me for a day or two. And its basic sub-text still rings true.

by Steve Gaines

in the last moments of the millennium
depending of course on how
you count the beginning or end millennium
at the end of December
early on the eighteenth
the year two thousand just about gone
along about three of the A.M.
in New Jersey
grand child number twelve
just one shy of the thirteenth number
as lucky as any other number as numbers go
shows up in the world
after keeping his mother busy in the process
for the better part of twenty-four hours
a boy with copious and dark hair makes his appearance
a long awaited debut
but I suppose about as long as most baby waitings go