Tuesday, October 30, 2007



Take this little piece of me, he said,
wondering how a thing so small
could bring her any joy at all.
But keeping for himself the whole world,
upon which she would surely choke
if only given a taste.

It’s always in the center
where you’ll find the softest spot
and the gentlest heart, he said.
The rest is all just make believe.
But he was content to sit there
with her all day anyway,
explaining love without
using any magic at all.

Their lips were so close they shared
the same air, which for them
was like food. Nourishing each other
with their breath till neither could
breathe without the other.
Only then was it decidedly love.

How long does love last? She asked,
unaware of her mistake.
Forever. He said, looking at his watch.
But you’ll have to hurry.

By Dennis Tkon Copyright 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Leave My Pretzels Alone

Who decides which snack foods should support breast cancer awareness? Is there a committee of junk-food purveyors who get together once a month and decide which snack is going to be this month’s poster child for breast cancer awareness? What’s the criteria for being chosen? Why do I care?

I’ll tell you. I only eat one snack food – Herr’s Whole Grain Pretzel Sticks. They’re made with 12 Grains, Flaxseed and Honey. They’re amazing! Well, they were. That was until Herr’s decided to turn them into the equivalent of an edible pink ribbon. The pretzels used to be about 2” long and had a lovely braided twist to them. They were light and crunchy and, like I said, amazing.

It’s not bad enough that Herr’s turned the bag PINK and adorned it with one of those annoying pink ribbons, they smashed the pretzels flat FLAT FLAT!! And twisted them into the same shape as the ribbon on the front of the bag.

I guess they had to do that to make sure you didn’t forget about the awareness campaign, between the time it took you to look at the bag and shove another handful in your mouth. Now the pretzels taste and feel stale even though they’re not. All of the gluten in the flower is compressed and rock hard. Gone is that light crispy crunch and the wonderful mouth-feel of baked pretzel flaxseed and honey. (Damn it.)

I’m all for breast cancer awareness and applaud any corporation that donates a share of their proceeds to fight cancer. But can’t you just change the bag without screwing with the product? What difference would it have made if they had just left the pretzels alone? If they wanted to make a real statement and educate us, then they should have put ribbon shaped pretzels into the bag with the normal shaped pretzels in proportions similar to the actual occurrence of breast cancer. If one out of 20 women is diagnosed with breast cancer, then one out of 20 pretzels should be in the shape of a ribbon. That would at least have been sufferable. Hopefully, this won’t last long and I’ll get my pretzels back soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why I Write MEME

I’ve been tagged by M at PWADJ to list my five greatest strengths as a writer which, in my opinion, is an invitation to brag about myself on a subject I have no business bragging about. Therefore, in order to complete this assignment I had to engage in some mental masturbation around the word “Strengths.” My solution? I’m going to list my top five reasons why I bother to write.

1. I have to. On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, writing fits in somewhere between breathing and eating. However, much like a camel, I can go for long stretches doing without. And then it comes. And when it does, I feel pregnant and full – uncomfortable. And once the water breaks around my idea, I have to grab a pen and get to the task. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing. That’s what emergency shoulders are for, aren’t they? I’ve given birth on the side of the road many times.

2. So I can exaggerate. When I was little, every spider my mother needed me to kill was THIS BIG!!! (Dennis is holding his arms open as wide as they’ll go). In some ways my entire childhood was an exaggeration – in the home of an addict, everything is out of proportion. Every story we’ve ever heard is somehow based upon an exaggeration. I love telling stories, especially tall tales. Writing gives me the opportunity to spin yarns of delicious proportion. In the process, I feel very much alive, connected and nourished.

3. To give insanity a voice. There’s not much I have to say about this. We all need to speak our truth. For me, my fingers will betray me much faster than my mouth. I can’t always say what needs to be said, but usually I can write about it. Speaking my truth, especially through poetry helps me to be sane again. When I feel crazy, I grab a pen.

4. Validation. If I write it down, there’s a record. Often I’ll write about feelings. Reading my own words, especially many months or years after I’ve written them helps to make my experiences more real to me. I can read a poem or a story and say, “Yeah. I remember. That was a very bad time for me. I’m so glad I’m not in that space now.” Validating feelings and experiences is extremely healthy. When others read my words, I’m further validated.

5. The trip. I said this before in a previous post, that writing takes me places I can’t get to with an SUV or a rope. For me, writing is a sensory and emotional experience of unimaginable proportions. When I enter my mind armed only with a pen (or keyboard) amazing things happen. Words are given new or unusual meanings and language becomes a toy. I am both the artist and the subject at the same time, and the master of my universe. I make the rules and then break them. And the experience of truly turning a meaningful phrase is intoxicating. And believe me, I’m an expert when it comes to highs. This is about as good as it gets.



How many more times
must I forgive you
before my life is mine?

Do wishes grow stale
in the belly of hope
perpetual, unfulfilled?

Can I cry enough tears
to summon you, mother
or must I suffer the eternity of night
alone with my heaving?

Do you know the sound of my cry?

Is it etched somewhere?
An inseparable part of you
without which you could not survive?

Or did you allow me
to perish so as not
to risk love?
Out of fear it
would not be returned
in equal measure.

It doesn’t matter.
The irritation is complete.
Grain of sand in my heart.
Oh mother of pearl!
Your jeweler’s tongue
cleaved such sharp edges
but I shall never know diamond.

dennis tkon copyright 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Touch of Death

Certainly you remember death
I recall your wedding day
Bridegroom that you were, adorned in black

Your faceless bride, hollow. Veiled.
The smell of rot
Laughing through cracked yellow teeth
You pledged your love in silence

Six guests danced the pallbearer’s waltz
for you both. It was your song after all.
And was followed by a funeral dirge
Heard by no one

Oh! The honeymoon suite!
That splendid one room chamber
But they forgot to embalm you
So you did it yourself
And spent the next four years perfecting your skill

And when you were good and ripe
You split open spilling loneliness
from your gut until you were drowned
I forget how we marked the passage of time

One hundred and twenty credits I think
was what we needed for that psychology degree
But by then we’d been dead for so long. Remember?

By then you could recall effortlessly what
the business end of a gun felt like in your mouth
The smell of black powder

Thank god for cowardice
You only ever danced with her

Dennis Tkon Copyright 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Shadow-Self Dream

Last Sunday night I dreamt that a dark figure - my Shadow-Self - led me through the streets of an unknown city to a ramshackle structure on the edge of town. At the base of the structure was an opening that led into a crawlspace – an underground chamber. My Shadow-Self encouraged me to lower myself into the dark below. I didn’t even hesitate. I climbed through the opening and lowered myself down. My feet didn’t reach the floor. I couldn’t see the floor below. It was so dark. I let go of the opening and fell several more feet to the ground below. I looked up at the rectangle of light above, waiting for my Shadow-Self to accompany me. He didn’t. He promptly covered the opening with a piece of wood of equal size. The light was extinguished like a spent match. I could hear my Shadow-Self heaping shovels full of dirt against the opening. My eyes suddenly felt too large for my head as I strained for any remnant of light. I waved my hand furiously in front of my face barely missing my nose. I could feel the moving air but otherwise, I was blind. Darkness tightened around me like a Boa Constrictor.

“I’m going to die" was all I could think. It was impossible to search for a way out due to the darkness. The chamber was filled with junk. Every effort to move caused something heavy to fall. My hands found what felt like a tabletop or a desk. It was clear of debris, so I sat down on top of it. My heart pounded inside my chest like a drum. My lips and fingertips went numb from hyperventilating. "I'm going to die!"

I wondered how death would come. Would I die of thirst? Hunger? Was one better than the other? How long do these things take? "Oh my God! I'm going to die in here." It seemed as though I pondered my fate for a very long time. I struggled in my mind for a solution and groped the darkness for an answer. Several times I cried. I sobbed. Finally, I was quiet in the darkness, and began the long process of waiting for death to come. I don't know how much time passed. Was it seconds, hours or days? At some point, I stopped fighting in my mind – planning solutions. I accepted my impending death . . . and I surrendered.

Almost instantly, a tiny dot of light appeared far off and away. The dot offered no illumination, it just was . . . there . . . hovering. Less than the head of a pin if that's possible. I'm on my feet and moving towards it. For all I know, its a hundred miles away. As I approach, it grows larger. Still not giving off any light, just shining in and of itself. Finally I am at its source. It’s just higher than my head and in front of me. I swipe at it with my hand, which connects with debris knocking it aside. More light appears. My heart is pounding again! I claw at the light again and again, until I've cleared an area roughly the same size as the hole I used to enter this place. The junk I've been moving was simply blocking the light. The opening was apparently there all the time – just blocked from view, but not at all sealed or closed to me in any way. Light is flooding into the room now, like air. The hole is clear and I can get out if I can only reach it.

Suddenly a small boy's face appears in the window. He reaches his hand in towards me and effortlessly pulls me through the opening. We're standing together now in an ancient city. I don't recognize this place but I'm struck with the feeling that this place is holy. We walk through the city and come to a door that's ajar. He pushes it open and invites me in. Several candles dimly light the room. A small fire burns in an arched hearth. A family I do not know is taking a meal together at a plain wood table. They are wearing ceremonial robes of white linen tied at the waist. Sandals on their feet. The surroundings are very simple, but inviting, nonetheless. A place is set for me and I join them. The dream ends.

[Surrender is a glorious feeling. I learn this over and over again in both my wakeful life and in my dreams. Surrender is the moment when suddenly, you can breathe under water, you can fly without falling, and the crushing press of darkness is unveiled by a torch on the horizon.]