"To aim for the stars, and have to land on the Moon, is no bad thing. Some only ever get as far as orbiting the Earth, and many never even leave the planet .."



" I'll take 'em, any way they come, backhanded or not! "

 One of my associates at a poetry group I attend, was ' blowin' his own trumpet ', and extolling his numerous so-called virtues. Another one of our members interceded with the retort, ... " The trouble with you is, you 'walk the walk', and you 'talk the talk', but you write rubbish ! But at least with Dusti it's always a good read!"



*This is 'as it says on the tin' a further piece of the 'Blowin' the Blues' narrative *

More  from ‘Blowin’ the Blues’

He found himself standing on the platform, if imagination can be stretched so far to call it that, in the station of the one-horse town, where people are so poor no-one can afford to take the time to sort out the seating. Trains halt at this whistle-stop on Tuesdays. And today was Wednesday.

Cody just stood shaking his head slowly in disbelief as the desperation of his situation finally dawned through the haze formed by the drunken stupor of the night before.


The Never-ending story ... An update ...

Just to bring people up to speed on the progress made so far.....

I have finally created Maverick Mustang as a publishing 'House'. So I plan to formulate many of my writings and poetry collections into a Kindle-friendly format at first.
But that is in the future!

In the now is the fact that I think I  have finally 'ironed-out' the 'bugs' in both 'Swimming with Swans' & with 'High Desert Siren', so I think that they will now be ready to consider 'publishing' them out into that big wild world out there.
Another project that will also be taking up my precious time over the next couple of months is the production and marketing of a series of CD's in memory of my friend of over forty-five years standing, BDS, who sadly passed away in late October last year.
I'm going to call them 'From the Vaults' - Vintage Vinyl and Bottled Blues,- Private Stock.(subtitled the 'Shirt Shows - Played Posthumously) but we will see how that pans out.
The formation of 'Dagenwulf Poetry' (On Silent Wings) is going on well, as is the concept of 'Bootleg Books'.
You can now get more details about these ventures in my other Pages to be found on this website. 


An Aesop's Fable in the Modern Idiom

A rabbit is travelling through the wood; he espies a bird sitting in a tall tree. The rabbit says, "Bird, would it be alright if I were to sit around and do nothing all day?" The bird answered, "Of course, I do it all the time!"

So the rabbit sat down right there and started nibbling the grass. He got sleepy and fell into a deep sleep.

Soon a fox came ambling through the wood, saw the rabbit lying there asleep; and quickly proceeded to gobble him up for his morning meal.

The moral of this story is: If you are going to sit around all day and do nothing; make sure you are high up!


"They often say that Life's a learnin' curve, don't they?"

"It's one of those 'crossroad' days today. Things are likely to arise that will cause me to travel down a different road from the one I've been following for awhile now. We'll just have to wait and see how things pan out, won't we?"

That old adage "cancer strikes one in eight men, and I know seven who haven't got it," is ringing unerringly true at this precise moment in time.

Looks like I'm destined to learn about prostrate problems, the hard way!

It's taken close on sixty-five years for me to have the 'prostrate examination' experience; and I can't say that I'm impressed! In the light of the increasing number of men suffering from cancer of it, I suppose more people should  get themselves checked out. But I have to admit that I'm not sure I would personally recommend the ensuing experience to my friends, however close they are. Like a lot of the things done for the first time, it's one that you remember vividly! 


The Art of the Good Storyteller

"TELL me, and I will LISTEN,...

SHOW me, and I will SEE, ...

INVOLVE me, and I will LEARN ..."


"Another little known piece of information:

Beethoven  was so deaf; he thought he was a painter!"


"The Blues tells the stories of Life's difficulties ... They take the hardest realities of life and put them to music only to come out with some new hope of sense of triumph."

​Martin Luther King  Jnr.

The Celtic monks would wander around Europe until they found the place that was calling to them. Then they'd settle and make their community there. They had an expression for it; 'seeking their place of resurrection'. They believed they were below the spot in the firmament that would one day lead them to heaven.


*The continuing Saga of the Soups*

Today, it's Roasted Tomatoes, with Onions & Mushrooms :-

​Or is it? .....

"The Realms of Fantasy are only Realities,

that Humankind has not discovered yet ...."


​*Again, in a Cooking Vein....*

'Satan's Spawn' - 'Soupe de Jour

The Secret Art of Soup-Making
(As taught to me by the Graeae - The Stygian Witches)

First take the frozen juices of Sunday’s Turkey,
(Saved for just such an occasion),
From the freezer.
Stick it in a saucepan, apply heat.
(We use Gas ourselves, so I don’t know about settings for electricity)
Whilst it’s heating, chop up the dozen or so Mushrooms’
That were left in the box from last Monday’s breakfast.
Having done that, start on cutting up the three sticks of celery;
That had obviously seen better days, somewhere else.
Also lurking about in the fridge was the residue of the sage & onion stuffing
That had been a side-dish to the Turkey roast on Sunday;
So that went in as well!
The other day, (Tuesday,I think it was) we did a salad,
And there was half a Spanish Onion left over.
They’re too big to eat a whole one in one sitting,
So that got chucked in the Soup-maker with all the other ingredients
(So far)
Along with the leftover Pasta & Tuna mix that I had for lunch;
Along with the usual seasoning of Black Pepper & Sea Salt,
I remembered that somewhere deep in the larder was that unopened packet
Of whole cumin seeds, that we got from the slimming club’s raffle.
(The rest of the prize was the ingredients for an Indian curry)
So they have been dutifully opened and a serious pinch added.
By now, the turkey juices had finally melted in the heated saucepan
So the steaming liquid was added to said soup making vessel.
All that was left to do was to plug it into the mains and turn it on;
And voila, twenty-one minutes later, we have the ‘fruits’ of our labours,

"Soup, anyone?..."

As they say,…. “Beware the Ides of March!”

Thoughts from the Kitchen’

* It was nothing but some water an’ potatoes,
  And maybe part of a marrow bone.
  But I swear I could taste the chicken an’ tomatoes
  Because of the wonderful Soup Stone. *
— Dr.Hook & the Medicine Show 

There’s something sexual about making soup.
How it affects all the five senses.
Maybe it’s the ingredients and spices.
Maybe it’s the smell of it cooking.
Maybe it’s the uncertainty of the results.
Will it work this time?
What will it finally taste like?
I often find myself salivating over the thought of it.
Take today for instance,
There’s been several slices of cured ham
Hanging around in the fridge for about a week now.
And last night we had jacket potatoes with our meal.
There were a couple left over.
The other day, we had roast chicken cooked in a bag between us.
I always make a point of keeping the juices.
The jelly makes a terrific stock.
Then there were nine or ten mushrooms,
Knocking about in the fridge;
Looking very sorry for themselves.
There were a couple of teaspoons full of wholegrain mustard
congealing around the sides of a nigh empty jar.
In the bottom of the larder, a couple of cloves of garlic were starting to sprout.
So the whole lot got chucked into the food processor,
Chopped up; then put into the fancy soup-maker
Someone gave us as a present.
(Turned out to be a god-send!)
And twenty-one minutes later,
Voila, steaming hot perfection!
A large bowl of it has just gone down well
As the lunch-time repas.
And there’s plenty left for later! 



Try to get yourself up before the rest of the world,

Starting firstly at 7am, then 6am, then even 5:30am.

Go to the nearest hill, wearing a warm coat and scarf, watch the sun rise.

Practise trying to fall asleep quicker.

By going to bed earlier.

Instead of staying up past midnight.

Start with maybe 11pm,

Then try progressing to 10pm, finally 9pm.

Wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.

Go and lie in your garden and feel the warmth of the sunshine on your skin.

Get into the habit of cooking yourself a good and filling breakfast.

Fry freshly picked tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, then fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it.

Grind up some of your favourite beans,

Make a fresh pot of coffee.

Sit, eat, and drink it and do nothing else.

Stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything. 

Buy a litre bottle of water. start by pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking at least another bottle twice a day.

Buy yourself a diary and a black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.

Strip your bed of sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. wash, then hang them in the sunshine to dry naturally. Make your bed in full.

Dig your fingers deep into the earth, plant seeds. Watch your success as they grow every day.

Organise your room. fold all your clothes, (and bag up those you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor.

Light at least one candle daily.

 Breathe. practice your deep breathing. ground yourself.

Have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.

Push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach, and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be genuinely surprised at how many smile back.

Bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour.

Realise you can learn much from your dog.

Message some friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest that you all catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through.

Push yourself to follow through.

Think long and hard about what interests you.

Find a book about it and read it.

There is a book about literally everything.

Become the person you would ideally fall in love with.

Let other cars merge into your lane when driving.

Pay for double the time that you need for a parking ticket,

And leave the second period in the machine. for someone else’s use.

Stick your tongue out at babies. help an animal. compliment people on their cute clothes.

Challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week.

Walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story.

Talk to acquaintances so they become friends.

Lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t an option. open your eyes.

Follow your dreams, and make it happen.

Take small steps to make it happen for you.

There's never enough time, is there?

The trouble with workin' on this website, writing;
Is that the inspirations for the artwork are stackin' up.
Causing a backlog build-up in my brain,
That is in turn, making my senses stall.

Doctor's Orders!

" Take more water with it! " With what? When you're on as large a daily dose of Warfarin and Digoxin, as I am; you don't have an option anyway. Alcohol is a no-no. This let me tell you, is a right bummer, when you have been brought up on Bourbon, and weaned on Whiskey; as I have. And now they tell me,that my thyroid has gone on the blink, and I will be taking even more tablets, for the rest of my life! But I suppose there's always a silver lining, somewhere. The prescriptions are free from now on, so I'll save myself a fortune!




"An lavar koth yw lavar gwir.

Bydh dom re verrdhe'n tavas re hir,

Mes den heb tavas a gollas y dir"

The old saying is a true saying,

The hand too short is the tongue too long.

But a man without language has lost his land.

​*Old Cornish saying.*

The Shanty


New Beginnings?

I heard the other day that a friend had reached that famous fork on the Road of Life. You know the one I mean.The point where you have to decide whether to continue ' to listen to the lies, spoken softly by fools' or do as in the song made famous by Sinatra, 'say the words you truly feel and not those of one who kneels'.

He voted with his feet, and handed in his resignation there and then.Not an easy decision to make in these hard economic times. He is no spring chicken, and has been doing the job for a very long time. Training for something else will be hard, and our benefit schemes frown strongly on people who voluntarily make themselves unemployed. So financial support will be short in coming for the foreseeable future, I am sure.

But he has always been a man of high principles, and has never struck me as a coward in any situation that required forthright action. I wish him all the best for his future. Down whatever road he decides to travel, and wherever it may take him.


Cold Rations & a Can of Beer

Finally got around to sorting out the cooker's oven & grill today.

Been a serious while since I did it last.

The baked-on grease was quite thick,

I am ashamed to say.

But I got some of that caustic oven cleaning stuff.

You know the type I mean, where you put all the shelves & trays into a sealed plastic bag, with enough of the solution to cover them and leave for at least four hours.

Your supposed to then wipe the residue around the oven and grill surfaces and leave preferably overnight.

So that's what I'm doing but it means it's cold rations & a beer for tonight's repas.

I bought some of those pre-cooked chicken thighs in the local store today. They were reduced as their sell-by date was yesterday, but that was fine because I'm planning on eating them today anyway.


​*And yet another! .....*

'Jist Reminiscin' ...'

Heard tells how an old friend of mine, ‘Freewheelin’ Frankie French upped and lit out from his lodgings the other day. Where he was exactly heading he didn’t say. But that has always been his way. Some say he went north. Up in the High country. But that’s only rumour; and not much attention can be paid to that. He got the handle ‘Freewheelin’, ‘cos of his habit of not liking to staying in one place for too long. Many people just call him, ‘Frenchie’. There are those who know him only as CJ, but there aren’t that many of us left. Frankie doesn’t talk much. He’s seen a lot.  Heard a lot of hard stories. Been through even more. He’s a vegetarian nowadays. Said he’d seen enough blood spilt in ‘Nam to last him his lifetime. So now he doesn’t eat meat.  I first met him in ‘Frisco, or was it New Orleans? Can’t remember myself too well. It was a long time ago now. We were two young bucks together starting out back then. We were gonna change the world, weren’t we? And maybe we did.  It’s fair to say the world is a different place for us having being here. The promises we made, the booze we drank, the dope we smoked, the men we fought, the women we laid. Yeah, we have certainly left our mark on the places we’ve been, and that’s no mistake.

I haven’t seen CJ in many years now. The last I heard of him was that he had been involved in an incident in a bar in Louisiana. One of those little out-of the-way places that are so prevalent down that way. Some reports say it was all over an argument about a woman, some bar-room belle, a Cajun queen. CJ always was a hit with the ladies. Others tell it was about the sudden appearance of a fourth ace in another player’s hand at the card-table. The cardsharp had a gun, and had drawn it first. Frenchie only had his knife, but those who were present said the blade had done its deadly work three inches into the man’s heart before the cowboy could pull the trigger. Witnesses proved it was self-defence on CJ’s part to the police officers who were summoned. The resulting court case found Frankie not guilty of the charge of murder. Freewheelin’ just upped and disappeared after it was all done and dusted, and little was known of his whereabouts for quite awhile after.

As I said, I haven’t actually clocked CJ face-to-face in many, many moons now, but I’m willing to bet my entire poke that he is still sporting that big Sam Elliot style moustache! He saw the actor in a couple of films, Roadhouse and Mask, and was so impressed by the characters that Sam portrayed, CJ decided to mould himself on them, moustache and all. And I can just see that constant old doggie of a cheroot  stuck in the middle of his mouth, fixed to his bottom lip by dried saliva, suspended as if by magic, as he speaks in that sprawling Southern drawl of his. What wouldn’t I give for just one more ride on that old hog of his, ‘American Eagle’, the wind whistling through my now receding hairline. That was never a problem for Freewheelin’; he had his head shaved when he had that drawing of a Bald Eagle, captured in mid glide, tattooed on his head. There’s no saying now of course that he hasn’t let that rich thatch of red hair, a throwback of his Irish descent, grow back, I suppose. And I guess he’ll have that hankering to down some of  that’ ol’ Tennessee  sipping whiskey’ in cupfuls jist to prove that he still can.

He’d have to be dead, which I know he isn’t, to be parted from that bike. His ‘lean mean freedom machine’ he calls it. Powered by that old ’49 Pan head, that he bought in a basket or was it a box  of bits from a garage sale for just a few dollars. Some guys seem to have all the luck, don’t they? As I said, maybe it’s the Irish in him. And I’d bet that he is still wearing that old brown leather flying jacket. It’s rumoured that it hasn’t be off his back for more than ten minutes a time since he first got it issued to him in ’69, when he was stationed  in ‘Nam. It was a story he told me about the death of one of his buddies that inspired me to write ‘And suddenly’. As he said, he reckons  he don’t eat meat ‘cos of his experiences out there. I’ll have to dig that poem out sometime and remind myself again. Well, wherever he is right now, I really hope that he is keeping well. If you should run into him on your travels, jist tell him, Dusti says Hi, and tell him to look me up sometime. He’ll know where to find me......


And suddenly...

They gave him a medal.
Sixty eighth cavalry.

Talk of root beers, soda pop.
And Mom's homemade
Cherry pie.

High school senior proms.
And the blonde
Cheerleader who lives
Next door.

DJ's playing music
For the boys
Down along the delta.

Hendrix and heat waves,
Morrison and storm riders.

The table moved.
And blew his leg off.
The blood flew up.
Right in my face.

As he lay dying,
I start crying
For why
I'll never know.

 And suddenly...
We're back in 'Nam.

©Dusti Rodes2014


The Traveller's Choice

“People who know where they are going rarely have to ask directions,
But there is always the chance of a fork in the road.” - Dusti Rodes

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

'The Road Not Taken'
- Robert Frost(1874 - 1963)


*Set in England, this time ..... *

'In the Wind'

The lonely nights. They were the worst part. The long hours spent building the bike. Burning the midnight oil until the cold light of dawn took over the illuminations.
He sat, oil-stained mug in his grease-decked ham of a fist. Java's best, steaming, burning his throat raw with every lug. Was this his thirteenth or fourteenth today? He couldn't remember now. The massive doses of caffeine failing in their allotted task of feigning off fatigue; the accumulated grounds covering the mug bottom in a remnant of Mississippi mud, deep, from down in the Deltas. The first finger and thumb of his free hand were deftly putting the finishing touches to the joint he was rolling. It was a little art he'd picked up during his frequent stays at Her Majesty's Pleasure at various establishments around the country. His makings lay strewn over the old table that served as totem-factotum to his needs. Diner, workbench, even pillow on multiple occasions over recent months. He raised the cigarette to his lips, and with a single action that comes with years of practise, sealed it with his saliva. With it now ensconced in his mouth, he reached for the lighter, lit it, and took a deep toke. The sweet smell permeated his flaring nostrils, while he drew down the smoke deep into his lungs. As he exhaled, his heavy eyelids closed momentarily. The necessary effort required to open them again proving too much in his tired state, he allowed his mind to wander.
Where had it all started? When was it now? Pour quoi? The combination of drugs and fatigue was fast inducing sleep, which only served to confuse the thought processes he was desperately trying to assimilate to no avail it seemed.
The auto-jumble sale in Birmingham, that was it!
That's where he'd first seen the bike, and realised its potential. An ex-WD combo. A 1948 six hundred cc, single cylindered side valve, from the Birmingham Small Arms company. With a camouflage green paint job. 'Distinctive', the vendor had called it. Hardly Milwaukee Iron, but beggars can't be choosers, can they? He'd only paid two hundred quid for the lot. And the seller had thrown in set of front suspension Springer forks from a 1949, M20. The 500cc model that the dispatch riders normally used in the wartime. They were standard equipment on both the combination and solo set-ups. And they were chromed already! Save him a fortune that would. He'd altered the rake on the steering to an inch and three quarters over stock. That'll give him that low-rider effect he wanted. Just like Peter Fonda's in the film.


Saucepans - from 'Murmurs'

I and 'Er Indoors were moaning about the state of the Pots 'n' Pans. How the handles had got all cracked , due to my inability to smell that they were burning with the flames of the gas rings being too high. Sometimes a lack of sense in the olfactory glands can be a blessing; most times it's a curse. Supposed to have been guaranteed twenty five years; we've had them three. Endorsed by some celebrity chef or other, Anthony Worrall Thomson wasn't it? No, he was the knives. Must have been somebody else, Jamie Oliver perhaps, I really can't remember now. Another side-effect of the heart condition medication, the need to take a nap after popping pain-killers to soothe the pounding pulses in my temples that have returned to haunt me daily with a vengeance.

Anyway, one hundred and sixty five odd pounds later, we now have some serious cookware. Stainless steel and aluminium alloy; copper-bottomed for maximum heat efficiency. The business and no mistake. What the Spanish call 'weyweh del perro'- the dog's b****ks! And they are dishwasher safe, that another improvement on the last lot. They are only guaranteed for ten years though, but I do feel a lot more confident that these will make that!


Today, I'm suffering from a bad case of turbatus aegrotatio,

More commonly known as the travel bug or wanderlust.


*And here is another one ..... Actually in my mind, this is more of a narrative poem than really a piece of prose ....*

        'Jazz Duellin'..'

Some people spend their whole lives,
And not hear the sounds stored inside.
Forget the notes, just play the music.

He hadn't played piano,
In a long time.

Downed by drugs;
That runs rife in the community,
And the company he kept.
He had drifted away.

Somewhere, anywhere,
But there.
Harlem could frighten
Even the strongest of souls.
And he'd never claimed to be that.

 They called him, Cajun.
A remnant of time
Spent in New Orleans.
The honky-tonks, the bars,
And the backroom bordellos,
That he had often frequented.
While down there.
In what seemed like now,
A hundred lifetimes ago.

 But he was back.
In the old neighbourhood.
He'd come for the funeral.
One of only a true few people,
He could call friend.

Word spread like wildfire,
As it does in these sad times.
That he was back in town.

At the graveside, some of the old crew,
Ambled on over to him.
Asking the usual things,
How's he doing and like.

 Told him they were holding the wake,
At Creole's place that night;
And would sure be pleased
To see him there.
The brother being a friend and all.

 When he walked into the place that night;
He was greeted by a sight,
He had almost forgotten.
The air was thick with the smell of stale beer,
The smoke of weed joints
And rotgut rye whiskey.

 The lights;
They were turned down real low.
But people saw him standing there;
And still took the time to say hello.

He hadn't been near a piano,
In a long while.
They had seen to that.
Six years in the slammer cramps a man's style.
Lithe fingers, gone fat.
The supple sinews, taunt.
He flexed 'em.
They fought back.

 Creole, the 'Fat Man',
On bass fiddle.
'Bleedin' Lips Murphy, blowin' blues horn.
'Skins' Duval, over on drums;
They were calling him up.

Most folks never really hear,
The sounds inside them.
But some can't but help create the music
That they're born to make.

 Cajun was one of those.
He hears the roar rising from the void within.
Like a volcano,
Molten music, stirring deep in the depths,
Of his frame.
That must come to the surface,
Like lava, straining to escape the confines.

 A piano is made of wood 'n' wires,
Hammers big and small.
And ivory keys, that sometime
Need gentle coaxing;
To give their best, and better.

 To some it's just a piano,
A box full of sounds.
A mechanism for making music.
For others, like Cajun,
It's an extension of their soul.

 The drums, they spoke something.
Grumbled, mumbled, low,
And then lower still.
The fiddle responded, with a taunt strain.
The horn blew for all it's worth,
The note, long and very low down.
Somewhere, deep, deep in the depths.

They were having a conversation,
Wanting Cajun to join in,
Leave the shoreline;
And strike out for deep water.
Then Creole started beatin' the box,
With his waxed bow.
Stacking the blues.
Urging Cajun,
To take up the thread.

Waiting for him to do things,
On the keys that showed
That he was wading in the water,
With him and the others.

 And Cajun answered them all, with authority.
The dialogue became a monologue.
The piano was doing all the talking now.
All everybody could do,
Was but listen, in awe.

The riffs and licks spoke,
With an urgency.
They told of places,
That none of the others
Had ever been to.

Described pain that few
Else had ever felt.
Diving to depths of despair,
Unplumbed by mere mortals.

But Cajun had been there.
Seen the sights.
And he was telling everybody,
That which he had experienced.
Reliving the roller coaster ride,
That his life had been.
And he took them all with him,
On the journey.


'Going back to my Roots'

Alex Haley has nothing on me!

You would have thought that with having a family name of Smith, it would have given me a clue. But it didn't. To discover you have been both Celtic and Catholic is most discerning! But in tracing your roots, the unexpected happens more than you expect!

Quotable quotes..."What's the first thing we are going to be doing next?"



(The Random Ramblings 

Of a Dried-Out Dipsomaniac)​​


​Maverick Mustang Manuscripts 

The Story Teller                 ​ 


*These are going to be ideas for longer stories - I am going to entitle them 'Tasters' -- I would really appreciate some feedback on these pieces sometime. ...... *

From 'Blowin' the Blues'

(The story of one man's journey to find himself.) 

#When a woman gets the blues, she hangs her head and cries, when a man gets the blues, he boards a train and rides ... # (traditional blues song, author unknown)
Down in the Deep South, and it can take three days to even SEE a train going through a station. Let alone have one stop there.



I guess his story started on that fateful night back in sixty-three. Someone had just killed Kennedy. John F, that is. He was shot while driving in a motor cavalcade down in Dallas. It sparked off a whole lot of conspiracy theories for decades to come. Even after the death of J.Edgar. Maybe he took the truth to the grave with him! Who knows?I never really knew him then; I was but a little piccaninny on my momma’s knee, down on the plantation.  Barely finished suckling on her teaties. Papa said he was "nothing but a no-good nigre," and "wouldn’t mount to a pile of beans".
Just goes to show how wrong some people can be.

Sometimes Life can deal people a low card.
With him it had thrown away the rest of the pack and was only using a deck of deuces and threes with an occasional four. And it wasn't shuffling them, too well or too often.

He was what the white folk call 'coloured' not 'Black'. A mulatto and an albino one to boot. It was probably down to the unfortunate circumstances of his conception. His mother was 'Red' from Rhode Island. An 'easy lay' or so they say. But that was no good reason for her being gang-raped on the streets of Harlem now, was it?
His startling appearance often provoked a strange reaction in most people. Raised eyebrows, spinal shudder and shoulder shrug of revulsion, or a sharp intake of breath on initial sighting were common.

Standing a shade less than seven feet, even with the stooping shoulders and strange way of holding his head slightly forward and lent to the left. Developed from years of attempting to listen with his good ear to what lesser sized folk were trying to tell him. His two hundred and sixty pound plus of bone and sinew barely covered by his leathery weather-wizened skin that had been exposed to the extremes of the elements for far too long. 
Long days of toiling at whatever work he could get. Bitterly cold nights spent in any shelter he could find. There wasn't any fat on that frame. Thirty-seven years of constant shortage of food had seen to that.
Cody Jarrel, cut a vision once seen, that few would forget easily. If ever....

Cody sat slowly drinking the dregs from the bottom of the empty bottles left by paying patrons of the bar.
He shuddered so violently, it wracked his frame to its very core.
Sheltering on the back-stoop of the Shanty Shack, from the rain that had been incessant in its task of soaking him while he tried to seek some sleep to rest his weary body throughout last night.
It had succeeded, so he let out another shiver that clinked his spine.
Down in the doldrums, yet again, the future was looking real bad for him. And little did he realise it then, but it was going to get even worse before it could get better. Much worse.

When Cody walked into the bar, the first thing that hit him was the overwhelming stench of stale tobacco smoke. The second was Cajun's right fist.

©Dusti Rodes 2012


​​​* Yet another entrant in the 'Tasters' series .... *

I think that this piece demonstrates the differences between writing as an Observer rather than a Narrator; i.e. SHOWING rather than TELLING. The first being as a Narrator, the second as an Observer. 

“Wine! By Odin! It’s Wine”

That Viking’s first step on the soil of the New World might have only been a small step for him, but it was a giant leap for those other brave men and women who had endured the long arduous voyage journey across the icy Northern Ocean and who were now standing at the beginning of the story that is to be told.

This is the story of Bjorg, a young Viking boy, who set off with his companions to bring the sun back to Greenland. On their journey they discovered a new, unfamiliar world. A world full of secrets and real dangers, but which was so fertile and stunningly beautiful, it was as if it was home to the gods themselves. A world inhabited by exotic people and animals. And a world that would be named ‘America’ after an Italian seafarer hundreds of years later.....


A typical day in the life of a Viking.

Leif Gunnarsohn is a hefty Viking with long plaits and an enormous red beard. He is a woodcutter by trade. His workplace is a simple woodcutter’s tent on the edge of a small copse. Unfortunately, Leif does not have anywhere permanent to live yet.

When he feels like starting work, Leif goes to his woodcutter’s tent and gets his axe. Then he goes into the nearby wood and picks out a nice fir tree. He fells the tree with a few mighty blows of his axe and removes all the branches. He then cuts the trunk into several pieces and carries one to his work tent to store it. It can now be collected from the tent by anyone who needs some wood. Leif then returns to the felled trunk and takes a second piece to his woodcutter’s tent and so forth.


All this work has given Leif an appetite. He looks around him to see what possibly there is to eat and notices a bush laden with juicy berries some distance away. Since there is nothing else suitable to eat nearby and he is getting more and more hungry, he puts away his axe and sets off. The bush is quite a distance away, so it takes him some time to reach it. But when he finally arrives, he tucks into the berries immediately. Once Leif has eaten his fill, he returns to his workplace to start work again.

However, this long walk to the berry bush and back again has left him pretty tired. Because Leif has nowhere permanent to live, he looks for a suitable spot somewhere nearby and lies down on the ground for a snooze. The ground is hard and uncomfortable, and when Leif wakes up some time later, he still feels rather lethargic and sleepy. But not to worry – he still feels refreshed enough to get back to work...

Leif gets his axe and gathers up the remaining pieces of the tree he has felled, and stows them in his work tent. When he has finished, he wonders what he can do next. Being a sociable fellow who hasn’t seen his friends for ages, he decides to go into the village so see what’s going on there. Something interesting might have happened....

He sets off and meets Freja, Erik’s wife, on his way. She is just on her way to the baker’s to buy some bread for her husband, but she has always got time for a little chat. She tells Leif that Svala, Soren the fisherman’s wife, has had a baby boy. Oh, he’s so sweet – a chubby little cherub with blond hair and huge eyes..... She also grumbles about the humid weather, and tells him how she burnt the meal yesterday and how he husband always has to work so hard. Ah well... She tells Leif in great detail how she has just acquired new furniture for her dwelling. Eldgrim, the joiner, made it for her specially! Her husband would be able to sleep a lot more soundly now that they have a new bed. A just yesterday, she got some gorgeous crockery from Ole, the potter. The old crockery was in such a state – it was high time they had a new set. And – oh, dear – their neighbours, the Arisohns – well, really! The husband always snores so loudly when he comes home to bed! You can hear him ten stones’ throw away! It’s ridiculous! And those children, they always make such a noise and....

Leif has heard enough! He is glad when he finally manages to get away from Freja and get back to work. But before he returns to his woodcutter’s tent, he just wants to pop in and see Thorwald, the wooden toolmaker.

Thorwald has just made some new wooden tools, and Leif would like one. Everybody in the village knows that it is much easier to work with these tools as you produce fewer rejects. That is why they are so much in demand and disappear like hot cakes....

But Leif is in luck. Thorwald still has a couple of tools in stock, so Leif can have one. He takes it back to his work tent and looks forward to felling the next tree in peace....