Friday, April 9, 2010


“That's right, it filets, it chops, it dices, slices
Never stops, lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn and it picks up the kids from school . . .”


In my late teens and early twenties I had three heroes: one an actor, one a painter, and one a musician. Hero worship is a phase that most of us pass through in our youth. It seems we need a person to emulate or inspire us. As we grow older, we come to learn that heroes have feet of clay, we become disillusioned and cease holding up others as necessary examples. In other words, we begin to really find ourselves. Well, some of us do. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of people never really do discover their own unique voice. I’ve addressed this topic before on this Blog in ‘#1 Rule Of Selfhood.’

At this tired, old stage of my life, I have gone well beyond idolizing other human beings, and other than Jesus Christ, I don’t really have a “hero.” I suppose the nearest person to it would be the late Senator Joseph McCarthy. I certainly don’t idolize the man but I have tremendous respect for him. No mere mortal in history, attempting to do what was patriotic, good and right, was ever subjected to more bullsh#t than was Senator McCarthy; he was and remains one of the most wrongly maligned individuals in humankind’s history.

Below is a poem I wrote about one of my heroes back in August of 1980, when I was 19 or 20. The following month, I left a copy of it on his tombstone in Indiana. It may not be any good but it definitely captured the naïve, youthfully overwrought feelings from that period in my life:


While I sit alone, reels of film play in my head
Flashing on the screen a reality to all I have said
There was a time when my words spoke my belief
But now the thought of each statement only brings grief
For I am older but still the clocks tick away
And tomorrow is here before I’ve lived today

And now in the dwindling days of my youth
I have chosen you as my symbol of truth
Because I know where you were, I can feel your doubt
And like you, I am searching to find a way out
I live in my mind in a world of seclusion
For I can’t find a way to transcend this confusion
Mislaid in this land, a lifetime to roam
Safety in loneliness, the place we call home
To exhibit a vision with your rise to fame
This too is something that I’d like to claim
Breaking through all the boundaries imposed by time
Yet I’m held back by a fear of attempting the climb
And though people argue I have nothing to lose
What becomes of the dreams that I might abuse?

I guess heroes are those who gambled that thought
Got up from the ground and persistently fought
This is my time to try the chance that I clutch
To ascend to the heavens, beyond everyone’s touch
And now I am ready to act the ultimate scene
To reach immortality just like James Dean


This is really terrible but it just popped into my mind the other day and made me laugh. (But then - as Lisa has already figured out - I’m weird.)

“Hand me a tissue;
I am going to— HAIKU!”
“Oh dear! God bless you.”

Le McQuote Du Jour:
Some of what has still to be learned by the West may appear to be almost absurdly simple and elementary, but it is important nonetheless. For example, never to use a long word where a short one will serve equally well, never to write with the idea of proving one's own erudition but rather in order to ensure that one's ideas shall be made as understandable to the reader as possible.
~ Douglas Hyde
(from his book "Dedication And Leadership")

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
Doggtor of Semiliterate, Half-Naked Blogological Studies
Stream O’Consciousness University in Hatsastraw, Honduras

Letter Links:
ABC - DE - FG -

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Not a very good poem??? Hmm you got some high standards buddy. I absolutely loved it!

Curious. Where have you dug up all these old poems from? Had you kept them safe, or did you come by them by accident one day?


How well I remember James Dean, I remember "Rebel Without A Cause"
"Giant" which if I'm correct was his last film. I had my hero's when I was a teenager of course but at the age of 17 I met the man who was to become my husband at 19 yrs. so all hero worshipping went out of the window.
Now a widow I, as I like music like and love to go to his concerts is Daniel O Donnell and a few other people.
I think as teenagers it's all part and parcel of growing up, my daughter used to adore George Michael now at 37, can't stand the sight of him.
I enjoyed your post very much and look forward to letter"I"


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

AlliAllo ~
No, when it comes to the poetry I've written, I'm quite unsure of myself. I generally have a pretty good idea whether or not what I've written has anything to recommend it when it comes to other forms of writing, but with poetry, I can't tell if what I've done is good or slop. That's why I've always kept it hidden away - until now. (I'm just desperate to meet the April Alphabet Challenge. Ha!) I mean, I like most of it, otherwise I wouldn't have written and saved it, but I'm just not sure that anyone else will feel the same way about it.

I kept the poems safe in a folder all these years because I realized early on that they represented a kind of periodic journal of my life at various stages.

Thanks for your kind words and the boost of confidence.

Yes, you're right, 'Giant' was Dean's last film. His most famous one, 'Rebel Without A Cause', is my least favorite. 'East Of Eden' is my favorite and it had a huge impact on me once upon a time.

I'm afraid I'm not at all familiar with Daniel O Donnell. But the story about your daughter and George Michael is funny. Ain't it odd how our tastes change as we age?

Thanks, Yvonne.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

Lisa said...

Your poetry is really very good. I think I've liked this one the best so far. I'm impressed that you've kept them for so long. Hoarder much?

Loved the Haiku, too. :)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Gracias, LISA! ~
Is it just coincidence that this is the one you liked best and it's also the first rhyming poem I've posted?

Maybe you prefer rhymed to unrhymed free verse, eh? Well, what I'm planning to post tommy-orrow will also rhyme.

And, no, actually I'm not a pack rat especially. Although I have kept a good number of items from my youth. Just didn't want to let it go, I suppose.

The haiku was ridiculous, but sometimes I just can't help being ridiculous.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McLoony

arlee bird said...

Liked the haiku -- first haiku that has actually made much sense to me.

The poem was excellent-- this one had clarity and was delivered with flow, and as you said rhyme, which to me is not a necessity but is appealing.

As I have mention in some of my posts I never been much of a hero worshipper, but there are many people whom I admire and whose achievements I respect. But I've never been one to put posters on my wall or idolize so much that I've followed everything they did. I've got my life and that's enough.

Really liked the post for H.

Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

Raquel Byrnes said...

Not a good poem? What are you talking about. I was hanging posters of 21 Jump Street thugs on my wall, not beeing all deep and stuff like you were. Great post. Loved it.

Bud Ezekiel H. said...

i like the fact that you left a copy of your poem on your hero's tombstone...

it says a lot about you. like they say, actions sometimes speak louder then words. then again you brought it home...both ways

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

rLEE-b ~
Thanks, Buddy.
The goofiest Haiku ever written and it's the first one that ever made sense to you? Ha!-Ha! That figures.

Ain't Xerox machines wonderful? They allow you to keep what you give away. :o)
By the way, I really dig your name; it's simultaneously down-to-earth and mystical.

And thanks to you, too. Your comment made me chuckle.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe