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Dead on the Floor

Janis Joplin seated 1970

Dead on the Floor

“Tricky Dick” was the U.S. President
In America, a first-class stamp cost just six cents
Richard Nixon froze both the prices and our pay
We still loved going to concerts to see our favorite bands play
The Vietnam War was on the evening news for all to see
Marcus Welby, M.D. was the number one show on United States TV
Over in London, Jimi Hendrix overdosed
On Monika Dannemann’s sleeping pills two weeks before.
And in Los Angeles, John Cook found Janis Joplin dead on the floor.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
© 2011

Originally published in “Writing After Fifty.”

Photo Source: By Albert B. Grossman Management (personal manager), New York. (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Coffee

Coffee

By Jimmie Aaron Kepler

The timer starts the morning pot
brewing where it greets me
at the same time my alarm rings.

The first cup hides my morning breath
as it energizes the blood flowing through my veins
enabling me to stumble to my car
and drive to Starbucks for more.

A sunrise latte gives me the pick-me-up required
to face the tollway and morning rush hour.

A generic cup of Joe at work
gives me something to hold on to
as I begin the first
in a string of meetings.

A mid-morning cup of coffee
provides the jolt to make it to noon
where a fresh cup at my favorite café awaits.

Then a mid-afternoon cup
helps me survive the challenges
before the clock announces it is 5:00
and I can leave.

A drive-by Starbucks
provides the lift
before I sit in traffic
during evening drive time.

A fresh pot greets me
along with my
after-dinner pie and ice cream.

I fill the pot with water,
add fresh grounds
and set the controls before retiring for the evening.

And the timer starts the morning pot
brewing where it greets me
at the same time, my alarm wakes me.

“Coffee” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler originally appeared in the September 23, 2013 issue of vox poetica Magazine.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Comments about Coffee and Jimmie’s poetry:

  • Jean – “Jimmie! Beautifully written and all too true. I like the way you ended as you began. Thank you so much for this engaging poem.”
  • Annmarie – “Jimmie Kepler writes a love poem to a rock star.”
  • Brittany- “I love his story poems. He writes wonderful narrative poetry. They frequently remind me of the lyrics of a folk song.”
  • Marissa – “I heard Jimmie do a reading of ‘Forever Still’ in Plano, Texas about a year ago. His poetry has the passion of the Beat Poets, the tenderness of the hippie poets, and the intellect of the renaissance man. His southern gentleman manners and charm as well as his soothing, Bill Clinton like voice and pacing makes a woman dream of snuggling, curled up by the fireplace with him as he holds her and reads his magical words to her. I love his poems “Forever Still” and “While You Were Sleeping.”

Family Reunion by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Smoky Mountains - Missionary Baptist Church 3

Family Union

The setting was an old wood framed church house.
Built on the crest of a gently sloping tree covered hill.
Its wood siding all faded and weather-worn.
The brass church bell for years had been still.

He walked up the hill to the church house.
With each step, old long-past years reappeared.
Soon in his mind, he could hear the congregation singing.
Then down his cheeks streamed the warm, wet tears.

Once again, the old song leader was his grandpa.
His young Mama on a pump organ played.
Packed on the third pew were his mischievous boy cousins.
Standing by the back door to the music his dear daddy swayed.

And old remembrances flooded his being.
A grand family reunion was well under way.
Hearing again the stories of King Jesus,
He couldn’t hold the tears at bay.

Then he moved from the little wooden church house.
Walked down the hill on the path just ahead.
The music and memories slowly fading in the distance.
He arrived at a cemetery with the graves of his family long dead.

There will be a great reunion in heaven in the future,
They’ll all be reunited one wonderful day.
They were all Believers in Jesus,
He’s the Light, the Truth, and the Way.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
December 2015

Picture Credit: Jarek Tuszynski / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in Christian publications like Deacon Magazine, Church Leadership Magazine, Discipleship Training Magazine, and Sunday School Leader Magazine as well as secular publications like Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, Poetry & Prose Magazine, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. He is a former Captain in the US Army.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Military Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Arts and Master of Religious Education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Doctor of Education degree. His books and collections available on Amazon.

Your Best Friend


Your Best Friend

If ever you find yourself being broken apart,
Because the one you trusted has broken your heart,
And all the time you find yourself crying,
While on the inside you feel like you’re dying,

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – your best friend.

One time life gave you a fright,
Existence was as black as a moonless midnight,
You were feeling so out-of-place,
With no one to hug or embrace,

Then you saw the light,
You came to me in the middle of the night,
And you ran to me to give your heart,
And that’s when your new life did start

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – Jesus, your best friend.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie A. Kepler
Originally published in “WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!”
Also published in: “Writing After Fifty” and in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection.”

Starting High School

Grace Slick today at age 77

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967

 


Starting High School

In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long haired hippies, peace signs, and doves.
In Vietnam, the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.

Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.

Written by Jimmie A. Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967

The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.

Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014.

Aren’t parents great about keeping things and then later in life returning them?

I wrote this poem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. It was just outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Impressing my English teacher was challenging. The assignment was to write a paper on “What I did on my summer vacation.” Instead, I wrote about what was happening in popular culture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem. She called me a “beatnik poet weirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in writing five pages of drivel avoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment.

Dead on the Floor

Janis Joplin seated 1970

Dead on the Floor

“Tricky Dick” was the U.S. President
In America, a first-class stamp cost just six cents
Richard Nixon froze both the prices and our pay
We still loved going to concerts to see our favorite bands play
The Vietnam War was on the evening news for all to see
Marcus Welby, M.D. was the number one show on United States TV
Over in London, Jimi Hendrix overdosed
On Monika Dannemann’s sleeping pills two weeks before.
And in Los Angeles, John Cook found Janis Joplin dead on the floor.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
© 2011

Originally published in “Writing After Fifty.”

Photo Source: By Albert B. Grossman Management (personal manager), New York. (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cowboys Hats or Fedoras

Cowboys Hats or Fedoras

In long ago, by-gone times,
Dallas was still cooled
By Toastmaster and Limit electric fans

Before Bob Wills’ Ranch House was
Renamed the Longhorn Ballroom
Back when “Sam” Zamudio became
The Sham and formed the Pharaohs

Gordon McLendon’s KLIF
Was the mighty 1190 and top 40 was all it played
With Irving Harrigan in the morning
Before he moved to Highland Park
Becoming Ron, not Ralph Chapman

When theater row stretched
For several blocks along Elm Street with
The Melba, Tower, Palace, Rialto, Capitol,
Telenews with its newsreels and short subjects,
Fox with the live burlesque, Strand, and
The Majestic was still the grandest of them all.

Back when Lou (aka Lou Lazer) and Ann Bovis owned
The landmark Dallas nightclub Louann’s
At southeast corner of Greenville and Lovers Lane
It was that special place
Where all the teenagers had to go

Unless they stopped at the filling station
To buy with a quarter what they hoped to use in the big back seat
At the Astro or Gemini Drive-in where they steamed up the windows
Never doing what they claimed they did

Dandy Don quarterbacked Coach Landry’s Cowboys, no longer SMU
While Dr. W.A. Criswell was our conscious
At the historic First Baptist Church

We wished Friday, November 22nd never happened back in 1963
It was a time when nearly all men wore cowboys hats or fedoras.

© 2012 Jimmie A. Kepler

The Dry Creek Bed

P1000919

The Dry Creek Bed 

There was once a dry creek bed
Where the water seldom flowed
Where a prickly-pear cactus
With its barbed spines struggled to grow

I bent over and picked up some rocks
Slowly polished smooth by nature’s wind and rain
And looked in awe at God’s majesty
Spread across the desert plain

A man needs a guiding compass
With unchanging principles telling just how it should be
Someone to show him the way
To the path straight and free

I rested alongside an outcropping
The fragrance of the cactus blossoms filled the warm, dry air
In the southwest buzzards circled in a cloudless sky
Seeing a dead carcass, waiting for their share

A limb, broken, alone
Lie on the ground beside a bare, Desert Willow tree
I cut off its nail like thorns
Making a walking staff for me

A cactus wren sang its pretty song
Above a rattlesnake down on the warm, dry sod
I was the only man who heard the tune
And I thought of Moses and the staff of God

Then my memory turned to a preacher’s sermon
Heard long ago in my teenage days
Jesus is the way to life
So the words of the Bible say

So as the day ended
I reflected on where my life is at
On the outside, all seems right
While inside I’m living flat

Now a man needs a guiding compass
With unchanging principles telling just how it should be
Someone to show him the way
To the path straight and free

My soul was once a dry creek bed
Where the Living Water I rarely allowed to flow
Where without His Living Water
I frequently struggled to grow

He bent over and touched His child
My response He wanted to see
Wanting to share God’s loving majesty
Where His love’s waiting for me

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
2012


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, The Baptist Standard (ghostwriter), Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE, and more. His novels The Rebuilder and Miss Sarah’s Secret as well as Charlie’s Bells: A Short Story Anthology and the award-winning short story The Cup, and the short stories Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, The Paintings and poetry collection Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.


Available on Amazon

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve was originally published: Kepler, Jimmie A. “New Year’s Eve,” Poetry & Prose Magazine, January 2012. Volume 3, Issue 15, Moonchild Designs, page 20. http://en.calameo.com/read/000339139f8d88e795466 (January 2012).

New Years Eve


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is an award-winning short story writer, poet, and indie author. He is the creator of the science fiction with faith series, The Liberator’s Helper.

Jimmie is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with minors in English and military science where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army upon graduation. He served as a commissioned officer on active duty for three years and then five years in the US Army Reserves. He earned Master of Religious Education and Master of Arts degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Administration. He sold his first magazine article over 35 years ago and has been writing professionally since then. He lives in a north Dallas Texas suburb with his wife and very demanding cat.

Devotional: Christmas Bells

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

About “Christmas Bells”

“Christmas Bells” is a minor, yet well known, poem written by a very melancholy Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas morning in 1863 during the midst of the Civil War. It is anti-slavery poem as well as a seasonal favorite.

The poem was written six months after the battle of Gettysburg where 40,000 soldiers lost their life. In addition to despairing over the bloody war, Henry was also mourning the death of his beloved wife Fanny Appleton Longfellow. Fanny died in a tragic fire the same year that the Civil War broke out. In November of 1862 another personal tragedy added to his pain. His son, Union Lieutenant Charles Appleton, was wounded in the Army of the Potomac.

On Christmas morning in 1863, while sitting at his desk at the Craigie House in Cambridge, MA, Henry was inspired to write a poem as he listened to the church bells pealing. Their constancy and joyous ringing inspired him to write “Christmas Bells.” In spite of his sadness, Longfellow expresses his belief in God and innate optimism that indeed:

God is not dead; nor doth he sleep
The Wrong shall fail;
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

Sometime after 1872 Longfellow’s poem was adapted into a Christmas Carol. John B. Caulkin (1827-1905) was a famous English composer who set the lyrics to a gentle, melodic tune which is reminiscent of bells ringing. The carol is entitled “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Alternative tunes have been written for the lyrics but Caulkin’s melody remains predominant.

I lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1966 – 1967. I was in the seventh and eighth grade. My father was in the United States Air Force at the time. As a student at Portsmouth Junior High School I took field trips to both Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Longfellow was a Bowdoin College graduate and was a faculty member before moving to Cambridge to teach at Harvard. We placed great emphasis when I was in junior high school on a classical education with understanding and appreciation of the arts including poetry.

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