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There’s No Other Way

If you measure worth

in pounds,

as if a prime filet,

man or vittle–

it matters little

that is what you weigh.


If you tally rate

in routes,

where you stay or play,

it’s no account,

by foot or mount–

that is what you way.


If you value

deeper meaning

yet don’t know how to pray…

you’ll grow intact,

if you don’t act–

and that is what

wu wei.


the only surprise is the title

Her write side was the prettiest…

–the one left,

her profile blown away

to side’less hall–

–oh! an open-air

amphitheater, really,
for the Flinstones of the world

pull ‘em up

and get me some of dem


conservative republicans all the same,

and dot com normal*

*normal in the insane sense of the word, of course, and generally

the third definition down

so tsk-tsk

(those elbow-huggers)

so tut-tut

(just look at those cave men go)

so lickin’ chicken, stone throwin’, finger-waggin’ good…

(those butchers)

5 little red flyers, an’ only 4

pointin’ where they oughta’

pinnin’ tails on donkeys

(those elephants)

when they oughta’

really oughta’—

kiss dem some




Lindley Park


I am walking–just walking–on the shoulder of the road where the world is still soft and unpaved. I like the feel of the earth under my feet as I move-which is almost a song lyric but isn’t. And then there’s this hill to my right, a big cotton ball of a hill, steep but rounded; its grade littered with crawling things and dead leaves from the trees that protect it–that aren’t dead–and near impassable with weather-twisted brush and criss-cross thicket. Thicket so brown it looks like it’s always been brown, and not just after the heat of August.
But that’s okay because the hill is a replica of a hill in Lindley Park, the park we used to go to as kids as a family, the park with the A-frame picnic area and the most playground equipment, the one you had to drive to. And now I’m running up the hill, and twigs and brambles scratch me, leaves and bugs catch my hair but I don’t care–I am Briar Karen, barreling for the top of the hill that is Lindley Park, like I knew it would be, like I knew it could be, a sloping green of lumpy lawn bordered by pines as big as Redwoods.
And now I’m running past the doddering old man with a barrel belly and cane, and guinea pig glazed expression–fallout from doctors overeager to get their drug company kickback. I’m running past the thirty-something woman talking a blue streak to him–talking even though she’s exhausted from running in the thin air of Montana, and still catching up to herself–talking to him as if to an aging pet–

Are you okay papa?

Is the sun too much?

Are you okay?

You re’ okay…

(He isn’t)

–talking to him for the last time before he dies unexpectedly. I’m running beyond the sister who turned into a ghost long before she became one by her own hand, to the young family named Hope in the playground, to that sister and that man, to a world untouched by emotional and physical pain, persistent in the chest and intermittent in a head caved in by a car ten years ago, and scarier for that. Years fall like bricks and scars thin and fade.

And I’m so close I can smell it,

I can’t

It isn’t saltwater taffy and deviled eggs and sun-baked grass.

And it’s all these things.


And I’m so close I can touch it,

I can’t.

It isn’t sun-dappled leaf piles and bright orange sleeping bags and my very first passport.

And it’s all these things.


I’m so close I could change it.

I can’t!

It isn’t metronome memories and dandelion wishes and dreams of parallel worlds.

And it’s all these things.


And my insides swell into a bubble that pops
when I turn the corner at the stoplight…
and just keep walking.


Karen R. Sept 2, 2011


Sounds like a Duck…

Words are fascinating tools. Amazing signposts that point the reader/listener/little voices in your head in the direction of the actuality for which they stand. You want to be sweet? Say: honey. You want to taste sweet? Order: honey. You want to repair the suite? Write a “honey-do list”! Yes, myriad is the meaning and context assigned to character strings long & short, familiar & foreign, gerunded, acronymed, and invented, and I’m fascinated by every coded blend of black I come across.

It was a dark and stormy night...

It was a dark and stormy night…

United they sentence, and divided they pun; today’s post isn’t about the various spin doctoring to which I occasionally subject these character-filled soldiers. Today, I’d like to talk about spelling & misspelling, pronouncing & mispronouncing, and space permitting–using and misusing words in speech. I’d like to talk about all that, all write, but I just can’t seem to nail the inflection.

Charrons Chatter blah bidee blah blah blah

Good thing I’m keypunching, then, as I expand on what invariably confounds my expounding, and sends me running to—gasp—right click that egregious error right outta existence. I’ll start with words I all ways always misspell the first time out, or as I like to say:


–the first time out. More specifically: discdisk. I’m never entirely sure if it’s the discs in my spine that feel pinched from discoing too much the night before, or if it’s the disks that ache; if it’s the disc drive in my computer tower acting hinky, or its disk drive, and this is a plenty, inconveneint inconvenient truth for this writer. (inconvenient being another sure-fire, squiggled, green line under text for me) Not a pretty pitcher, no, definitely a picture that’s half-empty, which transitions nicely into my next befuddling and persistent conundrum. Misspelling and transposition of the mispronunciations, and what the hey, might as well call this tendency:


–though an entire category for just one word might be a bit over the top, interesting a phenomenon though it is—to me, and paint drying, I mean. Sure, I change up my iteration of superfluous so often it contradicts itself, and devore my Scooby Snacks instead of devouring them, but it’s my perennially transposed pronunciation of picture for pitcher that’s more curious. As regularly as A-Rod got beaned last year, and more often than the finger accidentally triggers PIP on the remote control, my vocal cords just can’t lose the plosive kuh sound in my Koo-laid kontainer, nor konnect that kickin’ consonant to my Kodak moment. So, if a pitcher’s truly worth a thousand words, I’d say my pitcher of a picture puts me somewhere in the Kegger’s Hall of Fame at this juncture.

Karen Robiscoe dba CHARRONs CHATTER

And might as well leave that on a high note, and wrap up with a couple words I use incorrectly in sentences–hoping my wished for meaning might replace its actual one–to little or no effect on Websters. Disenfranchised and untenable describe neither a lack of Mickey Deez access, nor a slum-lord dwelling, as I am so wont to imbue, though you have to admit, they really ought to.

Karen Robiscoe dba CHARRONs CHATTER

What about you? What’re shoo-in, Achilles Heels for you when it comes to language? Written or warbled, what sneaky little words send you racing to spell-check/definition-check, or crank up the volume on the “pronouncing dictionaries” out there?



Potent Quotables

4 Favorite Phrases from 4 Awesome authors.

Warning! This post has received a TripleM rating by the Idiom Council of America. (many mixed metaphors) In compliance with international simile laws, and consumer reading caveats particular to the U.S., I’m obliged to inform you of the following:  You’re reading on thin ice, here, and if your Spidey sense starts seeing double at any time during this post, you better hang ten, and write it off between the lines as a straight-up, rinse-repeat.

I never met a 4 I didn’t like, nyuk-nyuk…

Glad that’s out of the way. Now we can get down to the brass chase of it. The raison de blog, and the raison is quite simply this: my recent post about favorite audio books brought to mind some other favorite, book-borne goodies, and I bet you can’t guess what those are. Hint: it isn’t forgotten but stylish bookmarks, library fines under the double-digits, or made-from-the-book movies, either.

Infinite words. Sounds like: dunh-dunh-dunh-dunh-dunh-…source:

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5x Upon a Time

A Review of 5 Outstanding Audio Books

When fellow tribe member and blogger friend, Ellie Heller, asked me to write a post featuring my five favorite audio books, it took me less time to jot down those titles than it did for WordPress to process my user name & password so I could keypunch my reply: “I’m in.”

Oh! Oh! And this one, and that one…and that, one, too!

That’s how near and dear my little nuggets of “Once Upon a Time’s” are to me, and it was tough to narrow it down to just five. I listen to audio books at least four afternoons a week at my job as a personal chef. While my hands slice and dice, my mind leaves the building as sneakily as Elvis ever did, wandering along spoken footpaths or hurtling down multi-tiered, L.A. style freeways…And sometimes footpaths that merge with such freeways in the same breath! Literary–if not literal journeys–I embark on effortlessly, letting the narrator take the lead on vistas carved by author imagination.

Synapses TrailHead

In the case of audio books, the voice is everything. The same book enjoyed in hardcover can be an excruciating assault to author, listener, and the work itself as easily as it can be a mesmerizing escape into the delightful place of: “Tell me a story”. Conversely, a book that’s only so-so in print can become sassy and engaging when read aloud by a favorite narrator. It’s no small skill to modulate your voice from character to character, and convey action and emotions with only inflection, timing and words—musicians appreciate this nuance, I’m sure–but the best of them do it seamlessly. Like a smooth ride in a fine-tuned car, the method of conveyance falls away and the listener simply experiences what becomes the listener’s story as it unfolds.  And the first narrated tale I’d like to note is…ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta —(ta—koff, koff—ta!)

The Grapes of Wrath. Author: John Steinbeck; narrator: Dylan Baker. Dylan Baker does a fine job narrating all the characters in John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It doesn’t hurt that Baker’s sometimes reedy voice is reminiscent of Henry Fonda’s vocalizations, the actor that starred in the movie version of the epic, but in the case of this first book, I simply must focus on the material itself. It transcends any MOD, be it page, audio, film or adaptation, and if you’re a Steinbeck fan, I know you’ll agree. Continue reading

Death is a Lonely Business

Ray Bradbury

8/22/1920-6/6 2012

When I was kid, bedtime was 9 o’clock—no if’s, and’s, or spoil-the-child about it. There was no argument I could posture that would be entertained, no tantrum to throw, and definitely no TV in the bedroom ready for my viewing pleasure once the clock chimed the hour. Yes, we had a clock that chimed the hour, and no, there was no Gameboy, Ipod or Smart phone waiting for me, either.

Necessity–the mother of invention–was just a kid back in those days, too.
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