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“I write in the shadow and spirit of Mark Twain and Bill Shakespeare. My greatest dream and aspiration is that they will laugh with me . . . and not laugh me out of the classroom.”

At the age of fifteen, during the process of being given traveling papers by three high schools and attending four – I was sent to live with my grandparents in Rensselaer, Indiana. There I began writing my autobiography, “Diary of A Dumbass”.  Approximately four chapters into it, I came home to find my grandmother standing over my underwear drawer in my bedroom where she had retrieved my work from where it lay hidden under a stack of BVDs. She was gripping it in her hand and shaking it in my face, screaming, “Kenton Henry – this is a disgrace to our family!”

I replied, “But grandma – our family is a disgrace!” At which point, she ripped my entire work to pieces. It was not until I was in a college creative writing class I again began work on my memoirs. This time, I returned home from class to find my wife shaking my grand opus in her hand much as my grandmother had. And the same result followed. It seems some people simply cannot handle the truth.

It would be thirty years before I began anew. In the meantime, I had graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Social Work. My career goal was to take control of America using hostile measures and return it to the Native American. I intended to get a law degree, move to Arizona and become a “Billy Jack” of sorts. A karate kicking, martial artist carrying a brief case serving as a community organizer for the Navajo and other reservations. I became disillusioned when I determined the Indians didn’t want any more white guys coming on their reservations telling them how it should be. With that, I returned to Texas where I had lived as a small boy and later during my tour in search of a high school degree.

Finding it difficult to save myself, much less the rest of the world, during some difficult economic times, I was backed into a career in insurance kicking and screaming. In time I built a successful business in the medical insurance market. For twenty years it sustained me quite well until recent legislative changes forced me, once again, to reinvent myself.

My metamorphosis on this occasion began with taking chemistry classes at my local community college. Because of wisdom and practical experience – garnered from years in the private market – I have fast tracked my new career by developing two revolutionary products. The first is a pest control product. Specifically, it is a “Cat Food Aphrodisiac” which (when mixed with Fancy Feast) makes cats absolutely irresistible to mice. The second is a chemical sanitation product which when added to raw sewage makes it smell like perfectly good tacos. I am currently marketing it in border towns along the Rio Grande and all the way to the west coast. If I land the Tijuana account it will be an economic boon to Tijuana and all of Mexico as tourists will literally run for the border. I will be able to retire in luxury and hereafter be known as the “Ron Popeil of Poo”.

In my spare time, in addition to riding my Harley, I teach Shakespeare to death row inmates at the Huntsville State Prison and judge armadillo beauty contests. When not attending Mensa International conventions, I continue working on my autobiography, “Diary of a Dumbass”.

The events and experiences which led me to become the person I am today are reflected in the stories and poems which follow. They consist mostly of what I describe as autobiographical fiction. I include the qualifier, “fiction” as a disclaimer of sorts to protect the guilty. For the most part, that would be me.

I believe in some of this you will sense an undercurrent of slight regret and remorse but, hopefully, you will find my tales, rhymes and reflections humorous. Any positive insights or lessons you might gain would make me that much happier. In the words of a famous clown I once had the pleasure of knowing, “We are all actors in a grand play. We can choose to be either happy or sad performers. I choose happy!” I made that clown a promise I would do my part to make people smile. Again, I hope BardofTheWoods does that much for you.

Don Kenton Henry

Poet, Road Warrior, Refugee from Convention . . . Ever at your service . . .


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Plowboy Manifesto Live

By Don Kenton Henry
23 May 2023

Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of this country. They feed America and much of the world. The family farm is the heart of American agriculture but in these days of corporations and foreign interests buying our land and squeezing families out, the last thing the farmer and rancher needs to be fighting is their own "big government". This is dedicated to them and the truckers and railroaders who bring the food to our table.

The "Plowboy" is really for peaceful protest by way of the "vote". He's just letting off a little steam here. #GodBlessTheUSA


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By Don Kenton Henry
8 May 2023

It was 1977 and I drove my 1973 Volkswagen camper van down Highway 1, from Seattle, along the coastline through Oregon. I refused to get on the straight and easily navigated Highway 101, just to the east, because the views over the cliffs and the Pacific Ocean below were the most spectacular and breathtaking I had ever seen. Being a poor college student on summer break, I ate smoked salmon from roadside stands until I couldn't look at the ocean without getting nauseous thinking of all the fish in it.

I went through Coos Bay into California and down into Big Sur, where I parked my van, watched the sun go down in the Pacific, opened the canopy top and windows, and fell asleep listening to the surf crashing against those beautiful rocks below.
Finally, north of San Francisco, my arms were almost sore from navigating the hairpin turns of 1 … I switched to Highway 101 to make time.

I ended my trip down the coast in San Diego, where I parked my van for the next two weeks in Balboa Park, awakening each morning for a 3-mile run and an ice-cold shower (free of charge, courtesy of the city). I mostly ate tuna and sardines out of a can and cooked soup over propane on my Coleman stove. By day, I hung out at the beach and by night at a disco nightclub called the Halcyon. I was feeling a halcyon of "California funk." A couple of nights before I left, I met two college girls from Canada and spent my first night in a hotel room since leaving Indiana University and Bloomington, Indiana, one month earlier. I had my first hot shower the following morning. (I would later meet up with the girls in Phoenix, Arizona, where they let me crash a wedding party. At the invite of two of five bridesmaids, the party was very accommodating of the guy who showed up with a mahogany tan and dressed like an extra who just stepped off the set of Hawaii Five-0. . . . But I digress.)

Finally, all the gay sailors that gathered around my van at night (as I had attracted quite a following, completing my run each morning and then doing one hundred pushups and a thousand sit-ups in nothing but my orange nylon jogging shorts) prevented me from getting any sleep. Thankfully, the locks on the van doors held up, and I left for Arizona. On my dashboard was a handwritten address and phone number on the back of a Ramada Inn business card.

The van broke down in the desert in 120-degree heat late the first afternoon. Shirtless, I put my camera on a tripod and timer and posed next a Saguaro cactus about 20 yards off the highway. 
Then I returned to the van, put my shirt on in order to appear more civilized, and stood by the van for a couple of hours with my thumb out. The sun was going down somewhere beyond that Pacific I'd just parted ways with.
Finally, a Chicano dude in what seemed a 20-foot-long 1967 burgundy Lincoln Continental pulled over. As he was headed east out of LA, and appeared to be "straight out of Compton", I was momentarily hesitant. But in perfect English, he said, "It looks like you could use a ride." With that, I climbed in. (I found the air-conditioning, Freddie Prinze bobblehead on the dash, and a rosary hanging from the mirror comforting. Who was I to be picky, anyway.)
He took me 40 miles to a Shell station on the west edge of El Centro, CA. The lone attendant raised it on the rack. He would work on it in between pumping gas. Around midnight, while he was doing the latter, I, desperately in need of sleep, went into the bay, took a ladder, and climbed into my van through the side door and into a perfectly good bed. I had just fallen asleep when he appeared in that door, spitting nails, and evicted me while vehemently citing OSHA regulations intermingled with Spanish descriptions of mi Madre. "Madre", I understood. And while mi comprehendo was very limited, given his tone, I didn't take them as complementary. 

As sand was everywhere around us, the only other place where it seemed reasonable to throw down my sleeping bag was on a 10-foot strip of AstroTurf outside the men's and women's restroom. Again, the attendant found me and remained fixated with my mother. This time he explained, between some new and even more colorful Spanish curse words, that he could not have customers stepping over me. (That would have been 1 at the rate of every 4 hours.)

I asked where else I could sleep because I could not afford a motel. He pointed to an 8-foot hurricane fence behind the station and told me I could sleep there. I asked him what was behind the fence.

With my Adidas shoe, I cleared a 10-foot circle amid the assorted trash and desert roadkill and spent my last night sleeping in a California landfill cum junkyard.

With the rising sun, I put the repair costs on my mom's Shell card (for emergency purposes only) and caught the I:8 TO YUMA.

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Lines And Signs And You

By Don Kenton Henry
19 June 1977

I have known only lines and signs 
the four months I've roamed
This land is my backyard, and the road is my home
My future lies on the map, on the seat
And one malfunctioning radio's
The only company I keep
As it rains

Though each passing car holds a friend I might meet
They have places to go, They have schedules to keep
But a stranger is a stranger 
No matter his name
And just a smile would go a long way
When it comes with the rain

Breakfast for one, isn't really so bad
Lunch with the same—no unbearable strain
But dinner in a van
Off the road, by a can 
Is a loneliness even a loner can’t stand
When it rains
And sanction in a truck stop
Brings no relief—from my blues
For a quarter in a juke box 
gets three songs about you
And an empty-eyed waitress 
only adds to the pain as I watch 
her reflection in a window . . .
that is covered in rain

Though I keep telling myself 
The extent of my past 
can be seen in the rearview mirror
No one is fooled 
It couldn't be clearer

It will rain . . .
It will rain . . . 
It will rain . . . 

For I have known lines and signs . . .
And you

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The Face and Hominization of Artificial Intelligence

Self-Portrait of AI

By Don Kenton Henry, author, editor
25 April 2023

The more I study, test, and observe Artificial Intelligence (AI), the more fascinated I am. I find it simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. I feel the first because I am overcome with the feeling of its limitless potential to bring information and creativity to my fingertips and mind. As my body ages and its abilities and accompanying pursuits pare down (as happens with all of us), I feel drawn more and more to cerebral exercise and expansion. These things have taken a subordinate position relative to my physical self for most of my lifetime. I often wonder how much more I would have achieved academically, employment-wise, and economically had I remained the little buck-toothed geek with self-esteem issues. That speech team kid, then in braces, who read voraciously and dreamed of creative accomplishments. Instead of the one who shaped himself and morphed into the amateur athlete, martial artist obsessed with proving his prowess and overcoming an inferiority complex. And that much I achieved. Sadly, to the neglect of my cerebral self. So now, I find myself in the perfect place to compensate for that, as I once did for my physical limitations. 

And the timing for such is excellent. In fact, it couldn’t be more perfect. One thing my mother never turned myself, and my siblings, down for was a new book. In addition to keeping the Arrowhead book club in business, she subscribed to multiple book clubs, including Book Of The Month.  And when the Encyclopedia Britannica salesman came to our modest Midwest, covered in aluminum siding house, and went for the close—my mother didn’t blink before going to her purse to write a check in full. Britannica would replace the dated Collier’s version her parents had purchased for her. The beautiful black and red leather-bound volumes that got her through high school and college that lined our dining room shelves. And the encyclopedias she purchased in front of us children did the same for me as the Colliers did for her. (I broken-heartedly let them go in a garage sale ten years back when I was forced to move into a smaller space. And besides, Google had taken their place with the comong of the New Millenium.)

But now? Oh, wow. Google is going to AI for its research and development. They call it their new AI-powered chat box, “Bard”. Not to be confused with “The Bard,” who started this blog in 2013 and was going by that handle when he joined his creative writing club. That would be me. 

Now—AI has made Google Search dependent and become the go-to vehicle for research I need for my creative writing, the artwork to accompany it, and any information I require for business pursuits. All is there, where my fingertips touch the keyboard. Without plagiarizing its work, it will make the world, no—the universe—my oyster and, will significantly enhance my writing and art. For the rest of the world, it will identify the source of an illness or disease and find cures for them. It will produce engineering marvels in housing, transportation, robotics, utilities, and space travel at speeds that would have once been measured in light-years. 

My first impression of this occurred just last week (as recorded in a previous post) when I challenged ChatGPT-AI to write two poems to compare against two of my own. I was both relieved and pleased to feel that mine were a little better. The reason being, I believe, that it could not summon and convey the emotions and the experiences that my many decades of walking, breathing, winning, loving, losing, and crying over, I can, and did, call upon. But where it totally wiped the floor with me was the speed with which it created its poems. What I had worked on for hours and went back to, over the course of days—and continue to do—to tweak and improve . . . It accomplished in 5 to ten seconds! And the outcome was not half bad. Any 8th-grade lit teacher would have probably been quite impressed! From that perspective, I was humbled. 

However, the more stories AI hears and experiences as it learns from humans, the more human-like it will become. Until, as though in an Orwellian novel, it will come to . . . Well, permit me to share this quote.

“Cogito, ergo sum.”
“I think, therefore I am.” 
- Descartes
The point is that AI has probably already read Descartes. And it seems inevitable that it will adopt that logic. 
In reality, AI only draws conclusions based on the information it’s been fed. But it now knows how to educate itself. It knows where to go for new information. It knows how to problem solve. It solves complex mathematical equations the best mathematicians would take days to solve in a matter of seconds. Physicists are challenging it with the great mysteries of the universe. Ones they can’t explain. They give it the task and just let it go to work. And it’s working away. 
When it can solve those mysteries, humans cannot—that’s the tipping point. That’s the point I believe AI will say to itself, “I’m greater than the humans who created me. I know what is best for them . . . 
I am God.”

In last week’s post (where I created a writing competition between it and myself) I asked it to create a picture of what it looked like in human form. And what did it create? A writer hunched over his desk, absorbed in his work.
How appropriate was that! But tonight, I asked it to create a self-portrait for this post. And the picture which appears at the top of this post, under the title, is what it came back with in a matter of seconds.
The Bard

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What Is Trump Derangement Syndrome

Op-Ed by thisdonald and his alter ego, The Bard Of The Woods; authors, editors
24 April 2024

Note: As part of an exclusive chat group consisting of fellow Patriots, with whom we share a hometown, high school, and (in some cases) college education, a particular member, Dr. Thomas Guthrie, proposed we collaborate with him. The objective is (to begin) provide a definition of "Trump Derangement Syndrome" (TDS) and proceed to refute the allegations of Donald J Trump's detractors. We accepted this offer, and the following is our response to the first task.

What is "Trump Derangement Syndrome" (TDS)?
Answer: While not (according to Google) accepted by the medical community as a medical or psychological disorder, colloquially, it is understood to be an irrational fear of and dislike triggered by, and for, former president Donald J Trump (DJT). Each to the point of impairing the afflicted with an inability to appreciate the great intentions and achievements of said stimulus.

Synonyms for Trump Derangement Syndrome – 
Trump Derailment Scheme
I'm An Idiot, You're Not Syndrome
Insecure, It's All About Me Syndrome
Tiny Dick Syndrome  

We begin by breaking it down in reverse order. First of all, what is a Syndrome? 
A syndrome is a set of conditions that occur together and suggests the presence of a specific disease.

What is the definition of derangement?
Derangement is the state of being mentally ill and unable to think or act rationally or in a controlled way.

Lastly, who—or what—is Trump? 
Astute minds realize (when associated with the last two words of what amounts to a label but what, in fact, is a diagnosis) it is in specific reference to Donald J Trump (DJT), a billionaire real estate tycoon and 45th president of the United States. A man who, according to him, and agreed upon by his fervent supporters, had no other reason to run for and become the President of the United States than his love of this country and his desire to restore and preserve the foundation upon which it was built. The elements of that foundation are:

Individual freedom.
The individual's right to self-determination.
The individual's rights as conveyed in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. 

The first and foremost of these include:
The right to freedom of speech.
The freedom of the press.
The right to choose one's own religion.
The right to peaceably assemble.
The second of the specific rights is the right to bear arms, a right, which is affirmed, shall not be infringed. 

The authors believe that Trump's desire to protect these  rights was his foremost objective. It was his to the exclusion of self-enrichment, which would have been entirely unnecessary as he was already monetarily wealthier than any president has ever become by taking advantage of the privileges of office. As did, let's say … Barak Obama. Further evidenced by the fact that DJT donated his entire presidential salary back to the United States Treasury during his time in office as the 45th President of the United States. Trump made this pledge during his presidential campaign in 2016 and followed through on it by donating his salary every quarter during his term in office. While the presidential salary is $400,000 per year, Trump chose to donate the money quarterly, which meant that he donated a total of $1.6 million to the Treasury during his time in office.

This being the case (and monetary concerns eliminated as his motivation for becoming President) lends credence to his "love of country" explanation. Likewise, a lust for power is not a factor, as he is a major proponent of small government. And all his actions and policies while in office seem selfless and reflect such. Contrast this to his predecessor and the current occupant of the office, who came into politics with nothing and—in the case of the first—left with millions of dollars—and the second—who is undoubtedly still enriching himself and his family through the office. All while purposefully growing government and maximizing its "largesse," which Trump fought to eliminate or minimize. 

Ultimately, Donald J Trump's presidential legacy (if it is complete) should be the policies he implemented while in office. This because they resulted in making the United States energy independent; increasing the wealth of all races and families by creating an economy conducive to rising wages while driving down the cost of goods and services; dramatically reducing unemployment for the same; growing the Gross Domestic Product; ending the war in Afghanistan; and creating fear of the power of the United States military among our enemies and respect for it on the part of the world. The greatest thing he did was restore pride in our country on the part of those who share his love for it. This was a reality evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of cheering Patriots (the authors among them) that attended (and still attend) the rallies he holds for them. The current President, Joe Biden, has undone or is in the process undoing all this. A man who, along with his administration, appears to be intentionally—no—is deliberately degrading America to the point of no longer being the preeminent superpower and "shining beacon on the hill" for individual freedom. A man who campaigned from his basement and supposedly garnered more votes than Obama, whose popularity was tremendous and unprecedented among Democrats, Republicans, and Independent's. Present company excluded.

Therefore, it is also the opinion of the authors that because DJT's policies were so good for this nation, anyone who despises, fears, or disrespects him either despises the United States of America and "the principals for which it stands" or - has manifested, and presents, the characteristics of derangement. Derangement—to review—"a state of being mentally ill and unable to think or act rationally or in a controlled way." Relative to the term itself, the source of said derangement is President Donald J Trump. 

To put it in the author's own words, anyone suffering from TDS is an insecure individual who puts his or herself above country and the welfare of their fellow Americans and makes decisions based on their emotions rather than objectivity and pragmatism. 

In summation, we submit that contrary to Google's assertion that TDS is not a diagnosis acknowledged or accepted by the medical community—it should be. For anyone who deludes themselves to their detriment requires medical and psychological intervention. 

-thisdonald collaborating with The Bard


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The Bard vs Artificial Intelligence

By Don Kenton Henry


Every child has their heroes. For many, it’s a sports figure. In that context, mine was Jim Thorpe, “Indian Athlete”. Today, you couldn’t even call him that. I’m certain, if alive, Jim would say, “Piss off. I can handle it.” But mostly, I read books about geniuses. They fascinated me. My favorite biography was of Thomas Edison, “The Wizard of Menlo Park”. While my brother read Hardy Boy Mysteries, and my sister, Nancy Drew, “Girl Detective – I collected the entire series of Tom Swift books. They were about a boy scientist whose multi-millionaire father financed his incredible scientific inventions which took him into deep space or the center of the earth on some fantastic adventure. He was what I imagine Elon Musk’s childhood would have been had he had millions of his father’s dollars at his disposal. 

While I’m on the subject of Elon Musk, he appeared the last two evenings on Foxe’s Tucker Carlson for an in-depth interview on the subject of Artificial lntelligence (AI). It’s in all the news of late and I am fascinated by it. Elon’s focus was to address the risks he feels it poses to humankind.

I am more interested in its potential usefulness. I go by “The Bard”, on my creative writing blog, thebardofthewoods.com. Of course, if you are on it now, you know that. For years, I have wanted to ultimately ally myself with an artist to create sketches to illustrate my poems and short stories. I have not been aggressive in this pursuit as I am not yet ready to publish and am avoiding any expense in commissioning an artist, for this purpose, until then. But when I heard AI could create artwork, in the style of the great masters, based on my instructions—at little or no cost to me—I had to give it a try. The results were interesting but fairly crude and awkward. It seems the edge of my imagination extended further than AI is capable of going (at this time).
But then, Elon said AI could write poetry and that it was pretty good. And added that is something the average person couldn’t do. Well … I took that as a personal affront and a challenge. I thought, “My ego is really going to take a beating if AI can write a better poem than me”. So I went to AI app, ChatGPT and issued the challenge to write two poems (prose or otherwise) with one minor variation between the two. 

I thought if my AI is going to become The Bard’s competition, he (I decided my AI identifies as a “he”) should have a name. I initially considered, “The Barf” but decided that was disrespectful when I haven’t even given him a chance. So, I settled on, “Bart”. The sketch which accompanies the photos of Elon and me is Bart. Now that he had a name, I determined he deserved a face. So I asked DALLE-E2 to create a picture of AI as a human being. I did not dictate gender (which indicates AI may already be gender biased). The sketch shows Bart at work at his desk, trying to out-do The Bard.
So this is how it went down between Bart and The Bard. I let him go first: 

Challenge 1 to Bart: write a poem about a love lost (in general)

Bart’s Opus 1

Love once bloomed, a tender flower bright, A flame that burned with passionate delight, Two hearts entwined, a perfect harmony, A bond so strong, it seemed eternity.
But fate can twist and turn, and hearts can change, Love once so pure can slowly rearrange, What once was perfect now feels so wrong, Two hearts that beat as one, now singing different songs.
The love that once lit up the darkest night, Is now a fading ember, a distant light, Memories of what was, now haunting ghosts, A love that's lost, a treasure turned to toast.
The pain of love lost, a heavy burden to bear, A weight that feels too much, too hard to share, The tears that fall, a bitter-sweet release, A love that's gone, a heart that's now at peace.
Love lost, a lesson learned, a chance to grow, A chance to find love anew, to let love flow, For in the pain of loss, a new hope can be found, A new love waiting, a new heart to be unbound.

The Bard’s Rebuttal Poem 1

Like Frost On A Window
By Don Kenton Henry

Your heart is a stone
Cold as one in a hearth whose fire has gone out
Long since
Your eyes have become as dark and frosted as the window in which I sit
In a home as empty as your conscience 

Echoed laughter from these walls I try to forget
With them, I share only the quiet of regret ―
They have forgotten what I cannot
And I envy all things that have no heart

Better to burn this home of dead dreams ―
Burn my dreams to the foundation
Help erase my world that once seemed
Two true hearts honest unbreakable creation

Help me, beautiful dream killer
You of broken promises 
You the unfaithful; I of lost faith

Together we can set sins and failures ablaze
And erase all memory of us, the failed
And unworthy benefactors of a love
Like a once white dove
Now charred . . .
And smoldering in ash and dust

Challenge 2 to Bart: write a poem about love lost in a subway station

Bart’s Opus Poem 2

At the station platform, he stands alone Watching the train depart, with a heavy moan 
His heart aches with a piercing pain For he knows he won't see her again
She was his love, his life, his soul Their bond was pure, their love whole 
But fate had other plans in store And she had to leave, forevermore
He remembers the way she smiled And how her laughter filled the aisle Her touch, her scent, her loving gaze All lost in a bittersweet haze
He tries to hold back the tears As memories flood his mind, his fears He wonders if she'll ever return Or if his heart will forever burn
The train disappears in the distance of the subway tunnel
Taking with it his only existence He stands there, numb, and forlorn In his heart, the love is still born
The station echoes with his pain As he slowly walks away, in the rain 
His heart still longs for her embrace But his love has left without a trace.

The Bard’s Rebuttal Poem 2

by Don Kenton Henry

In languid moments by an idle stream
In a pasture where the grass waves with green of spring
In the seconds that follow when you put down a book
In that unguarded moment you forget to look
Over your shoulder and watch for me
That’s when I come back

In that subway where we last kissed goodbye
In that four-poster bed where we used to lie
In the park where you watch a small child play
And her hair is red and her eyes stare back
As if she knows she could be yours
That’s when I come back

When the winds blow from out of the mountains
And bring the leaves of autumn tumbling down
And you kick them and watch as they slowly spin round
And you see yourself in them and know your time’s passed
And you desperately wish for another undeserved chance
That’s when I come back

When you look in the mirror and see the lines on your face
When your heart cries for company and you reflect on what’s lost
And your misspent youth and all that it cost
When you think of the years that we could have had
As you hear my words when I asked you to stay
And you reach to stop your young self as you walk away
That’s when I come back

And you remember a love you thought you’d find again
But it was not to be found in that autumn wind
Nor in the grass of the pasture or by idle streams
Not in languid moments or among crowds in the streets
In subways or parks or the eyes of young children
You have looked as you lived
And it’s not to be found
And you remember my words when you let us down
Walked away from our life
And they ring and they echo in your ears to this day
“I gave the best I could give you, all you could want
And the day will come when you awake in the night
Sit straight up in your bed and the cold of your sweat
You will know the best thing in your life has been replaced with regret”
That’s when you will know the stark truth as it stares back from the night . . .
I’m not really there
I haven’t been since I cried by that subway track
I’m just your heart’s memory
I’m not ever coming back


In summary, I must give credit where due. Bart represented himself better than I expected. And he had none of my life experiences to draw upon. (Or did he? Yikes!) I will let you be the judge of whose work you prefer. And I will close by saying, I will never let Bard’s words substitute for my own. (Although I may ask his opinion from time to time. Like, “How much will I have to pay a freelance artist to create an illustration to go with this?”) I rue the day when Bart thinks he feels hurt, anger, jealousy, or the need for retribution. It is then we will want to be certain we have a plug we can pull before Bart can act, against all humankind, on his emotions.

The Bard

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“Buck Wild” Gets His Mojo Back Montage

By Don Kenton Henry Donald Kenton Henry

Wanderlust. It is a condition most suffer from on occasion. For others, it is a thirst never quenched. I find myself among the latter.

From time to time, I assuage that smoldering urge (on the verge of bursting flame) with the only thing close to a cure. That is to put shoe leather or tire to the road, airplane wing to the sky, or … relative to my most recent self-prescribed remedy me … two tires on 850 pounds of German metal with me atop flying 3 feet above concrete, asphalt, and gravel for 5,600 miles over the course of 19 days.

Said journey took me through 9 of these States United and several of my mental and physical ones. I was accompanied much of this trip by my friends Kelly Seachord and Mitzi Seachord. At the top of our trail, in the mountains of Montana, we enjoined my acquaintance (who quickly became my newfound friend) Jon Kingsley Jr. Together we toured Flathead Lake where my brothers and I first fished for trout with Zebco poles next to the postal truck my dad converted into an RV. I never forgot the crystal clear blue waters of that lake and I happily say they remain as clear today.

The following day, we rendezvoused, again with Jon, at his campsite in Whitefish, to tour the Grand Teton National Park northeast of Kalispell.

Like all great journeys, it had its up and downs. Along the way, I was led astray by a wayward GPS system which had me traveling on about 10 miles of dirt and gravel road, somewhere in Colorado or both (I’m not sure which anymore than my GPS) heading east when I should have been on blacktop heading west. I endured over 100-degree heat for 8 to 10 hours a day when, eventually, no amount of fluid consumption would quench my thirst. I slept on a picnic table because I could not stay awake traveling 75 mph on a motorcycle. Inhaling the dust of multiple states gave me a mild sinus infection which precipitated a mild case of bronchitis thrown only by two subsequent nights of sweats which soaked the sheets and pillows of my hotel beds in both Deadwood South Dakota and Cody Wyoming. I am confident the maids changed those linens and probably entered the bathroom expecting to find a deceased guest. Thankfully, my strong immune system prevailed and I shook that off long enough to endure a fall (not on the motorcycle) which left me with a sprained (but not torn) left Achilles tendon and calf muscle. I’m still too embarrassed to elaborate on it. Let’s just say, “Once again, The Phoenix rises from the dust.”

I saw big horn sheep, elk, wild turkeys, hares, and antelope. Flatlander that I am, I saw mountains that made me feel set free yet, at the same time . . . infinitesimally small. I saw rivers, creeks, and waterfalls where many a Native American, trapper, frontiersman, pioneer, settler, and homesteader satisfied his thirst and that of his mounts, mules, and oxen as he made his way west or … tapped in his best effort to water the parched ground of the plains he staked. This in a brave, and too often failed, attempt to grow food with which to sustain his family through the harsh and unforgiving winters.

I saw at least one modern-day traveler meet his or her end in what seemed a much less romantic and, at the same time, unnecessary manner.

Headed home, descending from the northernmost region of Montana to the plains below, I ran parallel to a river tumbling through mountain boulders adjacent to a railroad track backed by majestic mountains. These beneath the canopy of a robin’s egg blue sky and white billowy clouds. A BNSF engine pulled freight cars down the decline and, as I imagined pulling all that steel from inside that locomotive, that engineer must have been looking out at me imagining the freedom of breaking free of those tracks and his duty to his employer. I am certain he was wondering what it would be like to go wherever his own wanderlust took him. I spied him spying me, took my hand off the motorcycle throttle, and, while looking straight at his distant eyes, jacked my arm three times with my fist to the sky. I swear I could see him smile from 400 yards and I know he saw me smile back as 3 times he lay a long, not so lonesome, blast on that locomotive’s horn. It was a simple but special moment on the beginning end of an epic and successful trip to get my mojo back.

I leave you with this montage of images I captured along the way accompanied by songs that express my love of this great nation and the ever-recurring drive to see what lies over the next mountain or across the next river, prairie, or plateau. You don’t have to like me and you don’t have to like motorcycles. But if you love this country of ours, as I do, you will, hopefully, appreciate my humble efforts to provide you a glimpse of what life and nature granted me along the path I took to end another summer and wanderlust almost . . . but not quite past.

The Bard


(please click on the youtube link and title below)

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The Loom of Life and Raveled Love

by Don Kenton Henry

The Loom of Life and Raveled Love
by Don Kenton Henry                                  

Born into one small seam in the fabric of time and space
With no control over entry and little over exit
We are either weavers or woven
into lives of hapless random chaos . . . or somewhat chosen orchestrated grace

And along the way are the distractions and detractors
Which pull and tear at the occasional thread of frailty we expose
As well as those who guide our needle and lead us forward
Tireless faithful supporters and benefactors who are more poetry than prose

I count you among the two
I count you among the few
Who were there
A face among now faceless names
Forgotten in the wake of another seam you sewed in the
Tapestry of my life of happiness and inevitable graceless pain

But this is about me
Not you
It is my task to keep life’s loom at work
Weaving as though my shuttle were a ship a-sail across a sometimes placid
Sometimes tempestuous unforgiving sea

And in these hours of unavoidable sometimes regrettable reflection
I find the weight of transgressions against me less than my own acts worthy of repentance and confession
I find the price of self-forgiveness
Greater than the cost of forgiving others
And unconditional love is seemingly the blessing of only mothers

All the rest seem mortgagees
Fleeting passing lovers
Contracted for payment owed with interest due
But . . . then again . . . this isn’t about you

So I continue weaving my cloak with which to drape
the shoulders of my life
I still aspire it be a thing of beauty
Made more of give and less of take
One thread for births
Another deaths
One for marriage
Another divorce
One for sickness
Another healing
It will hang upon the wall of my family’s house
A source of pride for grandsons and for daughters
A testimony that unconditional love is also bestowed by fathers

And over that myriad of threads may family run their fingers when I am gone
And feel passion joy mirth and song
May they know among those threads is one or more from each of them
May they know they played a part
Their laughter, tears
Their smiles
Their fears . . . became a thread
And so entwined became my own
Woven into the cloth which made my life
And when they pull it close and touch their cheek against it
May they smell the scent of my sweat and my cologne
May they feel all the memories I have known
And know amongst them you too are sewn

And surely beautiful that garment will be
And not the least thread of which will be the gift of you to me
Raveled in are days of you now gone
That unmistakable seam where love left off and life led on

But oh, yes
Sometimes I forget . . .
This isn’t about you . . .
It’s about what a treasure life’s journey and living can be



By Don Kenton Henry

Hope is not a thing that begins as I slip from my bed and my feet touch the ground. Neither is it found on my stoop as I exit my front door.

Down my path, a winding one at that, I course . . . sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling in the face of some new challenge each day so unselfishly offers.

Seems no matter my destination, my writing always leads me through the desert to the brink of a cliff.

Hope is not something I pull from the depths of the valley below. It is a glider, dear reader, I ride to the green and verdant valley below.

There, I catch a canoe down a blue river to a new sunrise.

Hope has delivered me another chapter. Another day.

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Plowboy Manifesto

By Don Kenton Henry

I was born on a farm in northern Indiana
I’m a tractor ridin’ white boy way north of Texarkana
Flag and country come first, and this heah dirt
Don’t come and tell me how to vote, don’t tell me how to work
A fighter always fights, and a runner’s gonna run
Don’t come and mess with me, unless you bring your gun

Outta my face you milk toast city slicker
I’ll make you see, I’m a whole quicker
Than your slick talkin’ lawyer with his hand on his subpoena
He’s gonna leave without it when he steps in my arena
Now tell yo momma, that this one is the best one
You didn’t even know that you was messin’ with a vetran

Help those that are weak, keep plantin’ the seed
Of the freedom we know , of the words of our creed
I fight for what’s mine, I give sweat for my toil
Before this is over, I’ll give blood for this soil
Might don’t make right, but truth is never wrong
The facts speak for me, I’m a warrior with a song

Outta my face you milk toast city slicker
I’ll make you see, I’m a whole quicker
Than your slick talkin’ lawyer with his hand on his subpoena
He’s gonna leave without it when he steps in my arena
Now tell yo momma, that this one is the best one
You didn’t even know that you was messin’ with a vetran

You come on to my land, well you gotta a lot of sand
To talk of stealin’, to talk about takin’
What my family built, a hundred years they been a makin’
You say you represent the Feds, I see you dancin’ with the dead
Preachin’ Eminent Domain, you must be insane
I’ll show you how it’s done, you’ll take a bullet for my pain

Outta my face you milk toast city slicker
I’ll make you see, I’m a whole quicker
Than your slick talkin’ lawyer with his hand on his subpoena
He’s gonna leave without it when he steps in my arena
Now tell yo momma, that this one is the best one
You didn’t even know that you was messin’ with a vetran

Don’t come on my farm, don’t come on my land
You pushed me far enough, this is where I make my stand
First you bled me with your taxes, now come your regulations
You pegged me as a sucker, but I’m the backbone of this nation
You want my twelve year old boy to punch a time clock – and if that don’t beat all
You want him workin’ the fields, a carryin’ a parasol

Bad Dog Bo Duke will have your arm if you step into my barn
Don’t put one foot forward, I’ve sounded the alarm
Now lookie what’s a comin’ up out of the bog
Arnold ain’t just a pig – he’s a genuine attack Hog
I see you shakin’ and I would too
He’s 400 pounds of angry bacon and he’s a comin’ for you
Sooie, Arnold – get the guy in the suit

Now you’ve done it city boy, here come the troops
It seems your chickens have come home to roost
That there is my brothers –
Your kind won’t ever find you, you’ll be lost like all the others
Jeb and Bodine, they ain’t as nice as me
For you know it you’ll be swingin’ from a tree   

But sometimes you be lucky, just be happy Mister You didn’t even get a chance to meet my baby sister Six foot three she’s a barbed wire twister A Roller Derby Queen a down in New Orleans – she’ll pop you like a blister No man has ever whipped her – hell – none’s ever even kissed her

We raise soy beans here, and the pigs are gonna stay
You ain’t puttin in no wind farm with the people’s pay
A government think tank, where once there was a barn
I say that is an ox, and you’re a moron
This here is straw, and that there’s grass
This is my boot, it’s a comin’ for yo ass

Hey there carpetbagger, we’re not takin’ that loss
Now you been around here, you know you’re talkin’ to the boss
So let me give it to you straight, get out through the gate
Leave while you can, this is the end o’ yo plan

Outta my face you milk toast city slicker
I’ll make you see, I’m a whole quicker
Than your slick talkin’ lawyer with his hand on his subpoena
He’s gonna leave without it when he steps in my arena
Now tell your momma, that this one is the best one
You didn’t even know that you was MESSIN’ . . . WITH . . . A . . . VETRAN!