Archive for the poems Category

Trinkets, Stones and Bones

Posted in Duke's Stories, poems with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2015 by dukex

What is the value of a dirty Cat-eye marble or a half melted toy army man? If you think Zero$$$ you could be right. Unless of course these items had a story projected on them by the one who possesses them. Their value may increase depending on where they are found or who owned them in the past. There is no shortage of trinkets, stones or bones so they can’t be more valued because of their rarity. Yet as family and friends we are compelled to collect such items and  pile them in delicate and loving arraignments along road-sides across America.

When I was walking in the early spring I came across this  sacred monument and was moved by its simple reverence.

074A sad memorial to the loss of children along the shore-line at the mouth of the Columbia river.


078Faces of toys and trusted friends that in the past had a comforting smile stitched on them, now were faded and drawn down by years of rain.  To me these object represented extreme expense and were placed here by broken hearts and trembling hands. Here lies what was once a Dollar store toy to help a restless child make it to the next stop on a day of errands now stands guard over a Geo-location that staged an event which, for someone, changed the world.

I’ve been paying more attention to such places lately and now see them more often.  Many are just a blur on the side of the road  where they denote a spot where at once, time stood still and trails ended. Some are kept fresh like a celebrity grave-site and others fade rapidly. Few grow and expand into more.044While I was speeding along traveling for an out-of-town job, something caught my eye. Brakes were activated and some gravel did spray. Looking out my window I could see what looked like a parade of colorful flags blowing back and forth, waving me to come closer. When my feet hit the gravel I noticed some coins mixed in and reached down to collect them, thinking it was my lucky day,  I poked the coins into my pocket with my other change. I then climbed the small grade through the scrub brush and empty beer bottles.045I was halted at the gate by a centennial that look me up and down before my entrance was granted. I was thrilled with its many trinkets and I started to see things that to someone, were once objects of great personal value.

048Somehow this seemed to be more than a one-time memorial. This area is part of the great Yakima Nation. But now suffers the installment of a paved highway and speed limit signs that stoically holler their commands. 055

001I’m not sure how much time I stood there and gazed at all the trinkets, stones and bones?  I did notice more coins on the ground and as I bent to pick them up something spoke to my soul. I realized this is not a place where one comes and takes things, no it’s a place where things must be brought and left. I was genuinely moved and before I slipped through the barbed wire I reached into my pocket and pulled out all the money I had and tossed it back. In doing so I felt I had added to the validity of the place and moment. I hope this is more than a Native American marker and now belongs to all who seek it’s offerings. I considered asking the local people  what this place is about, but I don’t think I really want to. I know what it means to me and think of it often, imagining fanciful reasons that had led to its establishment.

Today I was reminded of this place again. It happened when I was traveling through my old home town, The Dalles Oregon. When passing, I often like to drive through my old neighborhood. This time I had remembered that my brother Darrel suggested I stop and visit our old family friend and babysitter. Her name is Francis Lee and she had two boys. Bobby and Jimmy Lee. Jimmy Lee was Darrel’s best friend when we still lived there. Bobby and Jimmy both died way to young (Jimmy at age 19 passed due to complications of  Muscular Dystrophy). Francis is a longtime widow and still lives in the same home.  Because of Muscular Dystrophy Jimmy wore leg braces for a time and then was bound to a wheelchair. As kids we would take Jimmy into the back lot and spend hours setting up toy army men and wage battles with the carpenter ants as if they were an alien race from outer space.

Visiting was pleasant and I asked her about her new kitchen and if the laundry room was still downstairs. She said yes and joked about how she throws the dirty clothes down to the bottom of the stairs, when the pile builds up to a load she goes down and picks them up to be washed. She told me how she has a garden now in the back lot and she spends a good deal of time there during the growing season, and then she said something that pulled at my heart and clarified my thoughts on how seemingly unimportant objects can be a marker for the life of a loved one.

She said,”Every so often when I’m out in the garden turning the soil…  …a marble or an army man will pop up.”

Once cheep toys to be trodden under foot, now trinkets of peace and comfort.

I didn’t ask to see the jar of her precious trinkets, but I knew she had it…

We hugged and I took her picture.    Francis

Coming Soon:  “The Tree of Dash”



Unnecessary Miracles….

Posted in poems, Video with tags , on November 12, 2014 by dukex




What if…

there are only so many miracles on this earth?

Like the beat of your heart,

from the time of your birth…

…and since I’m asking,

what about bombs,

unlimited with endless supply?

Or will they banned from the clouds and  the sky?

Today I watched a video on the book of the faces..

…in it I saw the horror of races,

Right there.. …in the spot where a bomb reached its zenith,

was a pile of rubble, with someone  beneath it.

Apropos would be an”X” on that spot,

for the treasure below was the life of a Tot.

As the story goes,

heard from below…

…a crying, muted, in whispers of woe.

The men in the video were broken

and hurt,

yet bare hands and bloody fingers,

tore at the dirt,

The large stones in the pile seemed to just rise from their hearts,

then the ground once clenched…

…now twain-ed apart.

Forever it seamed as they scrambled and drilled,

for it wouldn’t be long ’till the infant was killed.

In a flurry of dust an elbow appeared,

next was a shoulder,

then a forehead ,ear.

Tiny and lifeless was the lips of this child,

while strangers shared their breath,

gently and mild.

Next came a pick-ax for leverage and pull,

hastened by fear the clustered hands culled.

From the breath he revived….

… and with the hands of a doll he rubbed grit from his eyes.

Came then was a miracle,

The boy is alert,

clothed in confusion,

cement dust and dirt.

Men crying to heaven was not at all odd.

For this we are thankful, they did cheer to God.

There are men who make bombs and drop them on us…

…and those who scratch rubble, as they spit and they cuss,

If miracles are numbered and there’s only so few.  Then bombs will deplete them…

…this they tragically do.

So I call to the sky,  “Take back all your bombs!”

We’ll stop all our pleading in prayers and songs.

Then no more will miracles be wasted and lost,

and destruction and death will not be the cost…









On Your Knees

Posted in art, Cooking Tips, Duke's Stories, Duke's Cooking Stories, Duke's Recipes, Handyman Tips, Kitchen Shop Tools, poems with tags , , , , , , , on May 25, 2014 by dukex

Cookies and Milk

“The Joy of Dark” a Halloween Story

Posted in art, poems, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by dukex

The nurse left work at five o’clock. Not the tall slender woman, dressed in her perfect white uniform, with blue eyes and a flawless minty smile. The nurse getting off at 5 A.M. was Bill, William H. Wellington to be exact. A large fellow with too much forehead and not enough chin. Bill sported a shaving blind spot that cultivated a patch of knurled whiskers to the left of his nose. Five A.M. placed Bill at the zombie end of a twelve-hour shift in a low-income area serving hospital.

Bill sees suffering and even death on an hourly basis. He sometime wondered about the afterlife but was most curious about the transition from life to death. One of his beds contained a suffering old woman; she was lingering and Bill was sure she would still be hanging on when he returned for his next graveyard shift. Normally when elderly loved ones near death grand kids, old friends and even faithful pets make the journey to pay their respects. Priest and Elders are supplied to anoint with oil and bless the soul. She had no one. As much as possible he tried to reach out and comfort her. She once asked with an breathless voice;” Nurse Bill, Will I see light?”

Bill didn’t know the answer; He wasn’t sure about the light. In fact, it didn’t sit well with him. It’s no wonder when you think about it. Bill was always under bright seemingly heavy lights. When he left for work, it was day; he would then spend the next twelve hours shuffling about under a buzz of relentless florescent tubes. When his shift was over, day light greeted him at the door.

This one morning Bill mad it home late and was thirsting for sleep. He readied for bed while his companion was reading. He crumbled into bed beside her. The one bedroom window is plastered with aluminum foil and the door shut in an effort to combat the light. The only thing keeping him from the dark he so craved was the reading light. Bill laid there thinking of the dying old woman and the dark. His wife snapped the book closed then clicked off the light on her way out for the day.

The light out, comfort rushed over him. He loved the dark and began to list its virtues in his mind. “Life”; he reasoned is conceived in the dark, our organs and bowels formed in darkness, and our first measure of conciseness realized in the dark. Naturally, when we die he deduced, we must pass through darkness.

Sleep teased him throughout his night and at his morning; Bill sat up in bed. A scrapbook of dreams seamed to slide down in his chest. He blinked, rubbed his eyes; and began piecing the disjointed bits of his dreams together. Bill dreamt he carried the old woman from the hospital down the hall to a roomful of therapeutic pools; gently he slipped her into the warm still water, the room dark. She was peaceful. He pressed on her frail shoulders and without a whimper, she rolled over face down. Her twiggy arms floated to the surface.

He suddenly realized what he had to do. Today Bill would murder an old woman.

Bill arrived for work to find the police coming out the main entrance of the hospital. He approached the door and as he entered, the cops were escorting out a tall blond woman.  It was the nurse; the one with the pressed white skirt. The nurse who always had perfect breath and a dazzling smile. Her hands shackled, they passed in the threshold. She lifted her head while turning towards Bill and flashed him her flawless smile then her head dropped and she was zipped away.

Bill followed the trail of commotion to the therapeutic pools. The lights were dim. Bill stared through the tinted glass from the adjoining office. The old woman was face down, dead in a pool. Her hair suspended in the water like a patch of silver seaweed… Bills eyes refocus and he could see his own face in the glass…

William smiled…

Karma Apples from Heaven

Posted in art, poems, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2009 by dukex

Mirror mirror 001 (Small)

Do you believe in Karma?  You know the “Reap what you Sow;” approach to life. Many people do. My ex-mother-in-law would say in a threatening tone,” What goes around; comes around!”  NBC had a popular sitcom called “My Name Is Earl;” which lampooned what to some is a very deep and personal belief. Whenever I think about Karma, it sometimes makes me shutter to my very core. I admit I have done a few good things thus far in my life, but it’s the, “Bad Things”… that haunt me.  You may know what I’m talking about?  The stuff you do while you’re still learning about yourself and others; what’s good, what’s bad and what’s just plain stupid.  It scares me because I should have known better… and yet, I still did what I did.

I believe it was 1967 and I was in my eleventh year. In our neighborhood, just one block west and two blocks north was a nursing home.  In those days we kids called it “The Old Folks Home.” It was a grand old building with gilded trim and majestic adornments.  It was not unusual for us on a hot summer day to find ourselves passing by the old Folks Home.  Having exhausted all adventurous activities for the time being. We would stop in and visit with the residents there.  We were joyfully welcomed by most and spent time listening to tales of the good old days. In the lobby was an old soda cooler; it opened like a chest and the bottles hung in rows, like little solders suspended in a magical cold mist.  A nickel would get a freckle faced towheaded boy 12 ounce of refreshing Orange Crush.  Gulping it down would give relief from the tart atmosphere that can stew in an old structure that was without a modern cooling and ventilation system. The patrons there were always kind to me and I felt close to many of them. I cannot believe it was I, who perpetrated such an offense against them.

Across the street from the Old Folks Home was a failing fence, the usual tall grass and then a sandy field with a sparse carpet of wispy shorter grasses; And of course at least one ancient, twisted and water starved apple tree.  We kids spent many a hot summer afternoon digging underground forts in the soft sand.  Our handy work produced a structure featuring a sun bleached plywood and plank roof with hand scooped shelves into the submerged dirt walls for holding our candles supplying needed interior illumination.  Once the roof was in position and the candles lit; our sand pit became a cool (as in groovy and cool as in cold) dark Gothic refuge.  You could taste the dirt with each earthy breath.  This particular time we had gathered a good pile of the sour and bug blemished apples as a cache of surely needed ammo.  A bunker like ours could easily be attacked from neighborhood foes.  The war ripened fruit would be well suited to repel any advance from the enemy.Mirror mirror 008 (Small)

There we sat, with our eyes peering through strategically placed gaps in the forts construction. Watching and waiting.  Cars zoomed by. Candles flickered. Blades of grass bowed in submission to the wind gust while sand peppered our anxious watchful eyes.  Nothing…  I was selected as a scout, then commanded to go out, observe, return and report.  I nimbly crept up to ground level while doing the classic Army Man crawl.  Clearly, I was an expert at this maneuver.  I made my way through the rounded dunes; I popped my head up quickly and then back down hard.  This method insured I would not be captured by the enemy.  All was quiet; all except some movement from the direction of the road.  A mad lizard like scramble and my chin was now resting on a fence board. I reached up and parted the tall grass, fully expecting to see a large contingent of enemy forces bearing down on or stronghold.  Alas there was nothing. Not even a cootie-infested girl who like to force dolls on us and into our underground fort. Nothing that is except family members across the street helping their old folks out of a car and into wheelchairs.  Rats! I crawled back on my belly and slid down into the fort.  I commenced to give my report while I scooped the sand from my pockets and dusted out my bellybutton.  Hopes of an all out war dashed.  But you guessed it. There was one kid. I honestly cannot remember who for sure; was one of those, “If you’ve been given lemons, then make lemonade” kind of people and with excited eyes said, “Ya know we have all these apples and we really can’t leave them, the skunks will get in tonight and sabotage our fort.”  “I say we attack!

Without hesitation, we loaded up our arms and army crawled over to the fence. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about what can happen to people under the spell of a mob mentality. It is true what they say about being caught up in the movement of the event. There we were taking aim and letting fly a barrage of hot weapons of apple destruction.

The ground around our target erupted in an applesauce hell. Many a round found its mark as their objections began to be screamed. The Old Folks looked around to see the source of the fruity offensive. A simultaneous retreat was achieved as we all Army Man scrambled into our fort hoping to escape the return carnage. We had dabbled war and now our hands were filthy dirty with its spoils. My heart pounded in the silence we all shared, waiting for the inevitable counter attack. It never came.Mirror mirror 013

This is why I worry. If Karma is real then I should expect to be attacked. In my later years. When vulnerable, helpless and fully engulfed in the angst of old age. To be spattered with something sweet and sickly-smelly. Fully deserving of it. However, is that necessary? I quickly realized the error of my ways that day of apples from heaven. What I am hoping for is perhaps the Old Folks we bombed did something rotten when they were kids and Karma sent me there to administer their dose, with apples…. If not, then Karma is endless, those who deliver Justice will have Justice served on them, and the kids who smack me will get theirs, and so on, Apples from Heaven… Endless, Karma Apples. And so too it goes in war…

Me? I’ll keep my gaze upward.

About The Art
This is my latest work and is titled
“Doll Cross”
It is 85in. tall and about 50in at the widest part.
It took me about a week to complete.
It has nothing to do with the story
“Karma Apples from Heaven”.
I just took the opportunity to show it
off with this story.
It is currently being shown at
ANGST Gallery
1015 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660 360.253.1742
Wednesday to Saturday, Noon to 5:00 pm or by Appointment


DESERT TROUT A poem by Duke DesRochers

Posted in art, Duke's Cooking Stories, poems with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by dukex


Completely ship me, sailing out;

About the brow of Desert Trout.

With fins of glass and salmon doubt.


Aboard her lofty hull of skull,

I feel the draw of the pull.

I taste myself; and find it dull.


Soft boney combs of skeletal fish.

Fathoms deep will crush and squish,

Where rocks and sticks can only wish.


Cool Raybans rest upon the nose.

The rotting smell of tuna rose;

In misty plumes of wingless crows.


Do you suppose?


To shed your scales in tidbit wails;

With trinkets, stones and bones?


The sands will swallow

All who follow.


While maggots calculate the end…

The End

The End

The End