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The Journal of Chris Sorrenti

All the Poets (I Have Known)
01/25/2017 01:42 p.m.

A wonderful audio visual presentation by Andrew Peterson, discovered and shared by Melissa Arel (also a member of Pathetic.org) via Facebook:

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Outside Influences - Maureen Glaude
07/18/2016 03:41 p.m.

I first met local poet, Maureen Glaude, here in Ottawa in 1999 at the Sasquatch Writers’ Performance Series, when invited to help out by founder, Juan O’Neill. In sharing the duties of publicity for the group, we quickly became friends.

What I didn’t know at first was that in 1998, she had contracted Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and with chemotherapy had luckily gone into full remission. Maureen or Mo as we liked to call her, remained in remission until April 2007, when she was unexpectedly rushed to hospital. The diagnosis/prognosis were grim, as it was discovered she had Leukemia. With more chemo, Maureen put up a valiant fight, but the disease quickly spread throughout her body, and on July 18th, she succumbed.

Ironic in that her oncologist had told her in 2006 that she no longer had to undergo routine testing, common to all Cancer survivors. Tragic also in that her initial survival had given new meaning to her life. Maureen was so filled with creative ambition and positive energy, many hearts were broken, both here in Ottawa and on the Internet, in her untimely departure.

On the up side, during the period 1998-2007, Maureen’s writing was published extensively in various hard copy creative writing magazines and ventures, including several chap books. Her library here at Pathetic.org has since been locked In Memoriam, should anyone wish to read her work.

Below are a few of my personal favorites:

Pool & Poetry

You ask me why I spend
hours and loonies in the pubs
shooting pool and poetry
it's not real life, you say

I like my venues and ventures
I'm training myself
to master fresh angles
design new ways to
break onto the world
anticipate the slice and hook
align the combinations

when I share my poems
I work to float
and ventilate
feelings across the room
to enter ears of lovers
of freedom and the art
of trading story

I string images to embrace
stretch out to others' souls
turn out my mind and theirs
as on an autumn trail

listening to the others' works
I bathe in holy waters
in this unlikely place

back at the green felt
behind the cue stick
I position myself
focus, draw back, shoot
sink into life's openings
try for surprises
or from old games, sure moves
around the pocket corners

you say that my friends
seated on the barstools
in the readers' pub
are players in life
not grown-up
but you cannot show me
a saltier sample
of the real earth

and so I'll add my name
to the poets' sign-up sheet
but first, I'll play the winner


Cat on a Hot Tin Page

Let me tell you about this cat I know
who makes his rounds, on dry ground or snow

he’s not the cat from Dr. Seuss
nor a treacherous tomcat on the loose

he can make the hair on your arm stand up in alarm
but he purrs a gentle poem, and means no harm

his lines don’t rhyme as in Mother Goose
and he prefers a plane to a train caboose

he maneuvers sly, like the famous Cheshire
he settles down on mousepads and net wires

this dark-haired cat sneaks into souls
meowing his stories of triumphs and tolls

scratching at the mundane to the sensational
topics torrid and forbidden or easily conversational

this cat will prance on any altitude of walk
prowling over keyboards to make them talk

swatting at the humdrum and the things less sure
turning us inside out, looking for his cure

licking avid paws, he pokes through others’ poems
doing the limbo-tiptoe into other poets' homes

he can send out feelers in synergy that’s psychic
natural but uncanny, and whether or not we like it

be he agitated, be he calm, the tomcat makes it clear
what he most despises, and what he most holds dear

sometimes he’ll chase his tail so the end seems
the beginning; the present the past and the future in between

he leaves his mark of mischief, and magic behind
for the archivists of lyrical literature to find

the true origin of his nickname's quite aloof
maybe you think you know it, but maybe you've goofed

after all his daring leaps and ginger steps, I'd wage
he’s just a cool, mischievous cat, up on a hot tin page


Rural Morning Haiku and a Cup of Yoga


on a country deck in September
beside two tiny fallen pine cones
cobra posture


limbs and skin stretched
supine beneath the sun
peace of the corpse


windrush in the aspen tops
outdoor chimes, intermittent
a hammer on a plank


boxed begonias
the leaves at autumn matching
petal reds


sunlight streaks
across the deck floor slabs
between shadows


originally appeared in
The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS) Newsletter Jan '03

The Perfect Man

I think I'd rather have
a statue than a man
I pass one every day
Lord of my neighbour's lawn

He marks the arbour entrance
by the clematis vine
he's naked, man-sized, Grecian
a piece of ornate masonry
but to me he seems the promise
of the perfect man

He does not argue back
but stares with gracious eyes
holds his creamy shoulders proud
and even though he's tight-lipped
it's not to shut off his soul

I'm sure his mind holds mysteries
of distant Aegean lands
his torso, hard and constant
carved into virile stance

He does not scoff or curse
and through long, sweltering days
suffers the sun, but doesn't drink
or whine, or get a druggy haze

I swear some days when I walk by
he listens for my step
and wishes he could wink his eye
or kiss away regrets

I always know his whereabouts
he's patient when I'm late
I'll bet he'd never lock me out
he never even shouts!

My only fear is that some year
these neighbours of mine will move
for how could I entreat them
not to uproot their statue, too?


All poems © Maureen Glaude Estate

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Outside Influences – Alice Cooper – Second Coming...
01/28/2016 08:11 p.m.

Outside Influences – Alice Cooper – Second Coming / Ballad of Dwight Fry

The early to mid 1970s saw an incredible diversity of music from all over the world. Pop groups like Sweden's Abba to Heavy Metal bands such as Grand Funk and Led Zeppelin. As the decade progressed, these styles gave way to Disco and Punk/New Wave. It was also the era of Glam-Rock, producing the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, and the infamous Alice Cooper.

What made Alice Cooper stand out was his/their (the band and lead singer shared the same name) shock-rock theatrics, employing various props such as straightjacket, a live boa constrictor, gallows, and even a guillotine, in which Cooper was either hung or decapitated. The mechanics of such devices were of course carefully rigged not to do any real harm, and an armed security guard was always present just off stage when Alice employed the boa…just in case; all in a good night's fun.

Needless to say, the act was garish, controversial, so much so that the band was banned from performing in certain towns.

Due to all of the above, as a teenager, 'the Coop' appealed strongly to my rebellious nature. In hindsight, a phase I went through, and although I eventually outgrew this type of music, every once in a while when the mood strikes me, I'll give one of my old Alice Cooper LPs a spin on the turntable.

The lyrics below are from their first successful album, Love It To Death, which also produced their first hit single, I’m Eighteen. As with most of the band's albums, they had a custom of linking two or more songs on the second side of their LPs. On Love It To Death, this was done with the tunes Second Coming/Ballad Of Dwight Fry, and the closing song Sun Arise, a bizarre but effective Heavy Metal adaptation of West Indian music.

Second Coming/Dwight Fry stand out in my personal memory because they capture the raw energy of the band in its prime. The lyrics (about a man in a psychiatric ward who has suffered a complete mental breakdown) are disturbing enough on their own, but aren't given full justice until combined with Alice's raunchy vocals and his band mates' searing instrumentals. In summary, these songs aren't for the faint of heart.

Second Coming

I couldn't tell
If the bells were getting louder
The songs they ring I finally recognize
I only know
Hell is getting hotter
The Devil's getting smarter all the time

And it would be nice
To walk upon the water
To talk again to angels
On my side

Time is getting closer
I read it on a poster
Fanatical exposers
On corners prophesized

It would be nice
To walk upon the water
To talk again to angels
At my side

I just come back to show you
All my words are golden
So have no gods before me
I'm the light

{drums/guitar bridge to next song}

Ballad Of Dwight Fry

Mommy where's daddy? He's been gone for so long
Do you think he'll ever come home?

I was gone for fourteen days
I coulda been gone for more
Held up in the intensive care ward
Lyin on the floor

I was gone for all those days
But I, was not all alone
I made friends with a lot of people
In the danger zone

See my lonely life unfold
I see it every day
See my only mind explode
Since I've gone away

I think I lost some weight there
And I--- I'm sure I need some rest
Sleepin don't come very easy
In a straight white vest

Should like to see that little children
She's only four years old--- old
I'd give her back all of her play things
Even, even the ones I stole

See my lonely life unfold
I see it everyday
See my lonely mind explode
When I've gone insane

I wanna get out of here
I wanna, I wanna get out of here
I gotta get out of here
I gotta get out of here
Ya gotta let me out of here
Let me outta here
I gotta get outta here
Let me outta here
I gotta get outta here
Let me outta here
I gotta get outta here

See my lonely life unfold
I see it everyday
See my only mind explode
Blow up in my face

I grabbed my hat and I got my coat
And I, I ran into the street
I saw a man that was choking there
I guess he couldn't breathe
Said to myself this is very strange
I'm glad it wasn't me
But now I hear those sirens callin
And so I am not free

(See my lonely life unfold)
(I see it every day)
See my lonely mind explode

Lyrics © 1971 Alice Cooper
Description at top and HTML page setup © 2006 and © 2016 Chris Sorrenti (Ottawa, Canada)

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Outside Influences - Dawn Davidson - he love dem feet
01/19/2016 04:14 a.m.

A personal favourite by long time friend,
fellow poet and artist, Dawn Davidson:

he love dem feet

he love dem feet, both long and sweet
he love dem feet, like a singer loves a song

he wash dem feet, in his tears of their beauty
tales of their destines, in the creases, he do adorn

he pours his glory of feet, and more feet
at the door of the beauty, the one he does seek

he kisses dem feet, his lady dainty toes
as he knows in his mind, the pleasure she enthrals

he love dem feet, from his memories he does
meet, the forms of toes, like noses, like a beak

he love dem feet, to tickle and to clean
in the mirror of his mind, he salute dem feet

and dem feet do like him back, for the sweet caress
he does atone in their limelight

 photo prettyfeettopssourceunknown_zpshoai145h.jpg

© 2008 Dawn Davidson
Photo courtesy of the Net

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Outside Influences - Joni Mitchell - The Circle Game
11/18/2015 03:52 a.m.

One of my earliest (childhood) poetic influences, long before I started writing my own poetry:

The Circle Game

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you're older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

© 1966 Joni Mitchell

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Outside Influences - John Magee - High Flight
09/21/2015 12:28 p.m.

High Flight by John Magee

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunwards I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds – and done a thousand things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air,

Up, up the long delirious burning blue

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,

Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of god.

During the dark days of the Battle of Britain, hundreds of Americans crossed the border into Canada to enlist with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Knowingly breaking the law, but with the tacit approval of the then still officially neutral United States Government, they volunteered to fight Hitler's Germany. John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was one such American. Born in Shanghai, China, in 1922 to an English mother and a Scotch-Irish-American father, Magee was just 18 years old when he entered flight training. Within the year, he was sent to England and posted to the newly formed No 412 Fighter Squadron, RCAF, which was activated at Digby, England, on 30 June 1941. He was qualified on and flew the Supermarine Spitfire.

Flying fighter sweeps over France and air defense over England against the German Luftwaffe, he rose to the rank of Pilot Officer. At the time, German bombers were crossing the English Channel with great regularity to attack Britain's cities and factories. Although the Battle of Britain was said to be over, the Luftwaffe was still keeping up deadly pressure on British industry and the country.

On September 3, 1941, Magee flew a high altitude (30,000 feet) test flight in a newer model of the Spitfire V. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem -- "To touch the face of God."

Once back on the ground, he wrote a letter to his parents. In it he commented, "I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed." On the back of the letter, he jotted down his poem, 'High Flight'.

Just three months later, on December 11, 1941 (and only three days after the US entered the war), Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was killed. The Spitfire V he was flying, VZ-H, collided with an Oxford Trainer from Cranwell Airfield flown by one Ernest Aubrey. The mid-air happened over Tangmere, England at about 400 feet AGL at 11:30. John was descending in the clouds. At the enquiry a farmer testified that he saw the Spitfire pilot struggle to push back the canopy. The pilot, he said, finally stood up to jump from the plane. John, however, was too close to the ground for his parachute to open. He died instantly. He was 19 years old.

Part of the official letter to his parents read, "Your son's funeral took place at Scopwick Cemetery, near Digby Aerodrome, at 2:30 P.M. on Saturday, 13th December, 1941, the service being conducted by Flight Lieutenant S. K. Belton, the Canadian padre of this Station. He was accorded full Service Honors, the coffin being carried by pilots of his own Squadron."

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Outside Influences - Margaret Atwood
06/22/2015 06:32 p.m.

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Chicken Cacciatore à la Chris Sorrenti
05/31/2015 01:10 p.m.

Contrary to the standard practice of making Chicken Cacciatore by cooking/simmering the chicken in pasta sauce, the below method allows for much of the grease to drain from the meat by broiling it first. This way the chicken skin (which I prefer to keep on) retains its crispiness, even with the sauce and added vegetables poured on prior to serving:

1. Slice and fry at medium heat 1 medium sized onion per person in butter till slightly brown.

2. Cut up 1 large green pepper (per 3 people) and fry with 1 package of mushroom pieces (per 3 people) in butter at medium heat for 15-20min.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take chicken breasts (1 or 2 per person) season as per taste (I use onion and garlic powder, Accent or sea salt) and broil in oven on a pan which allows for drainage of grease below till skin is brown and crispy (45 to 60 minutes depending on thickness). Some prefer skinless/boneless chicken which is fine too for this dish.

4. Pour 1 jar or can of pasta sauce (I recommend Catelli’s Garden Select for this dish) per 2 people into a sauce pan. Use the empty can and add 1/2 to full can of cold water. Mix in a small can of tomato paste. Bring to medium boil. Mix in mushrooms and green peppers. Stir continually until sauce thickens. Let simmer on low heat.

5. I prefer to use rice for this dish instead of pasta, but either goes well. Cook an appropriate amount of instant rice (depending on amount eating). Mix in butter or margarine as per taste. Once cooked, mix in onions and sprinkle with soy sauce, depending on taste.

6. Once everything is ready, to serve, put 1 chicken breast on each plate. Add rice/onion mixture beside. Pour pasta mix with mushrooms and green peppers on both chicken and rice.

If you’re a wine drinker, a chilled dry Chardonnay or Chablis goes great with this meal.

Chris Sorrenti
© 1998
Revised July 2001, May 2015

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Outside Influences - General George S. Patton Jr.
05/27/2015 09:31 p.m.

I first came across the below poem in the 1970 biopic, Patton, where actor George C. Scott in the lead role recites a shortened version of it. Patton was an avid poet in addition to being a career soldier.

Ironically, surviving the entire Second World War, the General died shortly after being involved in a car accident while still overseas on December 8th, 1945, 7 months to the day Germany surrendered...on May the 8th, 1945.

Through A Glass, Darkly

Through the travail of the ages,
Midst the pomp and toil of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon this star.

In the form of many people
In all panoplies of time
Have I seen the luring vision
Of the Victory Maid, sublime.

I have battled for fresh mammoth,
I have warred for pastures new,
I have listed to the whispers
When the race trek instinct grew.

I have known the call to battle
In each changeless changing shape
From the high souled voice of conscience
To the beastly lust for rape.

I have sinned and I have suffered,
Played the hero and the knave;
Fought for belly, shame, or country,
And for each have found a grave.

I cannot name my battles
For the visions are not clear,
Yet, I see the twisted faces
And I feel the rending spear.

Perhaps I stabbed our Savior
In His sacred helpless side.
Yet, I've called His name in blessing
When after times I died.

In the dimness of the shadows
Where we hairy heathens warred,
I can taste in thought the lifeblood;
We used teeth before the sword.

While in later clearer vision
I can sense the coppery sweat,
Feel the pikes grow wet and slippery
When our Phalanx, Cyrus met.

Hear the rattle of the harness
Where the Persian darts bounced clear,
See their chariots wheel in panic
From the Hoplite's leveled spear.

See the goal grow monthly longer,
Reaching for the walls of Tyre.
Hear the crash of tons of granite,
Smell the quenchless eastern fire.

Still more clearly as a Roman,
Can I see the Legion close,
As our third rank moved in forward
And the short sword found our foes.

Once again I feel the anguish
Of that blistering treeless plain
When the Parthian showered death bolts,
And our discipline was in vain.

I remember all the suffering
Of those arrows in my neck.
Yet, I stabbed a grinning savage
As I died upon my back.

Once again I smell the heat sparks
When my Flemish plate gave way
And the lance ripped through my entrails
As on Crecy's field I lay.

In the windless, blinding stillness
Of the glittering tropic sea
I can see the bubbles rising
Where we set the captives free.

Midst the spume of half a tempest
I have heard the bulwarks go
When the crashing, point blank round shot
Sent destruction to our foe.

I have fought with gun and cutlass
On the red and slippery deck
With all Hell aflame within me
And a rope around my neck.

And still later as a General
Have I galloped with Murat
When we laughed at death and numbers
Trusting in the Emperor's Star.

Till at last our star faded,
And we shouted to our doom
Where the sunken road of Ohein
Closed us in its quivering gloom.

So but now with Tanks a'clatter
Have I waddled on the foe
Belching death at twenty paces,
By the star shell's ghastly glow.

So as through a glass, and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, -- but always me.

And I see not in my blindness
What the objects were I wrought,
But as God rules o'er our bickerings
It was through His will I fought.

So forever in the future,
Shall I battle as of yore,
Dying to be born a fighter,
But to die again, once more.

© 1918 General George S. Patton Jr.

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Outside Influences - Dale Wimbrow - The Guy in the Glass
01/20/2015 03:52 a.m.

An old family favorite (words to live by IMO):

The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgment upon you must pass,
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end.
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test,
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world
Down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you cheated the guy in the glass.

© 1934 Dale Wimbrow (1895 – 1954)

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