Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As we start a new year perhaps one of the things we should be doing is developing a new respect and appreciation for the elderly in this country.

We live in a world where their opinions are denigrated as “out of touch”. They are the “old white males” or “ women who never had a real job”. Previous cultures cherished their elder populations for their experience and wisdom and the sacrifices they made for family and society. Their knowledge of history and tradition was integral to the welfare of the community.

Now they are widely discounted as burdens. One of the drafters of the Affordable Health Care Plan recently actually had the audacity to write a lengthy piece in which he advocated that our country would be better off if citizens just killed themselves when they reached age seventy-five so they wouldn’t be such a weight on society. And many in the media totally ignore our seniors because they don’t buy enough “stuff’ to be considered a worthwhile advertisement segment.

Perhaps these views shed a little light on why our culture is gradually imploding.
Too many in our population are without the benefit of the guidance and love that comes with a cherished familial structure. As a society we make the same mistakes over and over because we lose touch with the history and the traditions that were so essential in our development. We no longer honor those who have made the sacrifices and worked to make this country what it is.

I have worked with the elderly for several years ( and am gradually becoming one). I have spoken in a wide variety of community and retirement centers. I am often amazed at the perspective and common sense that many of them bring to discussions. They have run great corporations, taught our nation’s children, fought on the beaches of Normandy, and often taken a lifetime to provide values and love and attention to their children.

I wrote Remainders (Riding in Boxcars, 2006) after visiting one of these centers. I was overwhelmed by the beauty, love and intelligence that seemed to rest just below the surface of these citizens. Their bodies were worn but they offered so much from within if someone was willing to look past the surface.

It is a shame that we waste such a wonderful resource.

Glenn K. Currie


They wait for their
Ready to be opened.
To share secrets
Of  life.
Fresh and young,
Now, burdened with age.
Cloaked in the dust,
Of yesterdays.

Lined up on shelves.
They rest,
Stories hidden,
Beneath their covers.
In restless desperation,
For someone,
To see,
The beauty within.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

We have all been blessed to live on this beautiful planet. Whether we view it from Earth or as the glowing colorful jewel that is seen from space, the size and value of this gift is irrefutable. Yet as our population grows, we seem to be creating more damaged souls who have no greater objective than to destroy this beautiful planet.

Whether they use the crutches of religion and social engineering, or are simply motivated by greed and the search for power, they work every day to create a planet where diamonds will be turned back to coal.

We are a world in turmoil, capable of creating wonderful things and yet also of developing the means for a few individuals or small organizations to turn us into a barren place where beauty, love and freedom can be erased from the world in a few careless moments.

I wrote “A Christmas Prayer” (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) at a dark time in our world. Unfortunately, the same prayer is still applicable. I offer it again this Christmas in the hope that a merciful God will help us find a way out of this wilderness.

Glenn K. Currie

                       A Christmas Prayer

We exist in a dark age.
A time where horrible things
Are done unto each other
In the name of religion.

Help us to find passage
To religions’ true teachings.
To end the hatred,
The explosions of hearts and minds.

Let quiet words create a gentle breeze
That blows away
The acrid scent of burning anger,
The smoke that blinds the soul.

And in this season
 Where presents are exchanged so freely,
Help us to begin to find
That gift born within each of us.

Give us the vision to see the light
That shines in the body electric.
That glow emitted by the human spirit
That can reach the farthest stars.

Give us the wisdom
To use that internal flame
 To find our way onto a new path,
And into a new world.

To that promised land
Where lions lie down with lambs,
And there is Peace on Earth
Goodwill to Men.


Friday, December 12, 2014

A lot of people are still struggling in this very slow economic recovery. Many no longer show as unemployed because they have given up hope of ever finding a full-time job similar to what they lost.

It is a cold world out there if you have been laid off and you are over fifty, were in a labor-intensive manufacturing job (now moved overseas), or are without the computer and internet skills that are so necessary today. Even new college graduates in many fields, loaded down with debt, are having trouble finding employment comparable to their skill sets.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in the mainstream of American life with a car, house or apartment and a steady job, can’t imagine the terror that comes with suddenly losing these things.

I wrote The Storm (Granite Grumblings, 2011) a few years ago but it is just as applicable today.

I hope you will think about it as you pass the Salvation Army bell ringer or get ready to make your year end charitable contributions.

Glenn K. Currie,  www.snapscreenpress.com

The Storm

I got a call the other day from an old friend. He had been laid off from his job. He was another casualty of the broad epidemic of downsizing that has been going on for several years.

Shortly after he lost his job, his wife, a fairly senior employee in a state agency, decided to divorce him because he was, in her words, a loser. He had then escaped to a consulting job in Spokane for a few months, but couldn’t stand being away from his kids and had moved back to southern California.

When he called, he had no job, no wife, no assets and very little access to his kids. He had almost no hope. He had been dropped into that vast chasm that seems to have absorbed so many in recent years. A formerly successful individual suddenly becomes a non-person in our society. As I listened, I could feel the terror. I could envisage a man on a space walk who suddenly finds the umbilical chord to the ship severed. As he spins into the darkness, he sees a world of incredible beauty: a silent planet disappearing into the distance.

He had called me to find a little warmth and to see if I knew of any job opportunities. We talked of old friends, now scattered around the world, and of places to start over. I couldn’t offer much real help, only sympathy and a couple of suggestions. We tried to fill the silences with a discussion of the weather. New Hampshire was in the middle of a major snowstorm combined with near zero temperatures. It was sunny and 73 in Newport Beach. He won a tiny victory in that exchange.

As I hung up the phone, I looked out the large floor to ceiling window in my study. The outside flood was on and I could see the snow dancing through the night. The flakes glinted like mica in the cold night air: sparkling chips from a black-granite sky, gleaming just out of reach and then disappearing into the night. The wind played with them, pushing them against the glass and then screaming in rage as it carried them away from the alien warmth.

By morning, about eighteen inches of snow had accumulated. A few flakes still drifted down but the storm was over. The trees, the land and the pond were all covered with a fresh white layer that made the world seem pristine. Plows were actively working the otherwise deserted streets. But then, as I watched, a lone man with a shovel came down the road. He stopped at two homes, trudging to the doors and then slowly making his way back to the street. To my consternation, he then began the long trek down my driveway. He was quite thin, unshaven and moved stiffly.
He rang the bell at the side door and when I answered he dispensed with any niceties and simply said, “Do you think you might want to have your walk or driveway shoveled?” I nervously, reflexively, declined. He said “thank you, anyway” and began the long walk back up the driveway.

It had caught me by surprise. I regretted that I hadn’t even explained that I have a man contracted on an annual basis to plow the driveway. I also realized that he was the first shoveler I had seen out trying to make money after a storm in probably twenty years. Even the kids don’t do it anymore. And then I thought about my friend and his struggles.

I also remembered the old car beside the garage that sometimes sits under snow for a week or two until I get around to digging it out.  I chased him down as he was being turned away from another home up the hill. We agreed on ten dollars for him to shovel out the car and the breezeway.

I asked him what he did for a living. He was a house painter who was trying to make a little extra money to see him through a difficult winter. He said he hadn’t had much luck.

After I paid him, he walked to the top of the driveway, turned left, back towards town, and disappeared. Shortly behind him came one of the big city plows, its yellow lights flashing a warning. It flipped snow and rocks and clumps of dirt into the building banks, clearing a path for the rest of the world to do its business.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

We just went through a rough patch of weather over Thanksgiving. Power went out Wednesday afternoon and didn’t return until Friday.

No ovens to cook the dinner, no heat, no football games. We had to sit in the dark and cold Wednesday night before fleeing to my daughter’s house in Maine on Thursday morning where we had all the necessities of life.

As I stood in line at McDonalds early Thursday morning along with 100 other people waiting for a warm Egg McMuffin and coffee, I realized how “out of shape” we Americans really are. Lord help us if an enemy were able to shut off our power for weeks or months.

Coincidentally, this week I have been reading the Civil War Reminiscences of Joshua Chamberlain. For the 99% of Americans who have no knowledge of history, General Chamberlain was a Medal of Honor winner at Gettysburg and was probably one of the greatest field officers in our history. He was also a theologian, teacher, Governor of Maine (four terms) and President of Bowdoin College. He was involved in twenty engagements in many of the battlefields of the War. He was wounded six times (twice near fatally) and had three horses shot out from under him. General Grant selected him and his Corps to accept the surrender of Lee’s forces at Appomatox.

He was a giant among giants at a key turning point in our country’s history, and yet almost no one except history buffs have ever heard of him.

As I read of the hardships that he and his men endured, and the terrible toll it took on all who fought that war, I wondered if our society would still have the stomach to make those sacrifices for something today.

Wars have changed, societies have changed and our sense of ourselves and our place in the world has changed in the last 150 years.

Most of our young people have no understanding of the sacrifices our ancestors made to give us this free nation. It is a shame. We are losing ourselves in ourselves.

Our children are growing up without heroes and accept without understanding the tearing apart of the fabric of our society. They no longer study history so they will never know who someone like Joshua Chamberlain was. It’s too bad, because the world needs more citizens who challenge us to be greater than we ever thought we could be.

It is up to us where we go from here as a nation, but it is hard to find our way forward if we don’t understand how we got here.

I am left wondering if our country’s future would be more clearly defined if we did indeed shut off the power, and refocus on the lessons learned by candlelight.

Glenn K. Currie

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving can be a great time of year, if you’re not a turkey.

In our house, it was a huge festive occasion when friends and relatives saw each other, often for the only time in a year. People were usually in a pretty good mood because they didn’t have to cook. My mom loved the idea, maybe because she enjoyed the whole production. At least one year she did cook two turkeys because we had so many guests that a turkey big enough to accommodate everyone wouldn’t fit in her oven.

Thanksgiving Dinner (A Boy’s First Diary, 2007) is a true account of that gathering.

Looking back, it was quite a blessing to have a day when we could rejoice in our extended family, without a lot of hidden agendas. There weren’t a lot of days like that.

May you all be blessed and be thankful for your blessings on this beautiful holiday.

Glenn K. Currie

                  Thanksgiving Dinner

Mom cooked two turkeys this year.
We had a lot of guests.
Even Aunt Lil came from Connecticut.
There were people and kids everywhere.

Mom made so many vegetables
That she forgot two of them.
She remembered at dessert.
I didn’t have to eat the turnip.

I like Thanksgiving dinner.
I put gravy on everything,
Even the cranberry jelly.
It kind of hides the vegetables.

We had a really long prayer.
Aunt May fell asleep.
I think Mom thought she was sick,
But she woke right up again.

They put all the kids out in the kitchen.
That was a lot of fun.
Mom was upset about the peas.
She shouldn’t serve peas to kids in the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanks for the Worries was written for the Concord Monitor a few years ago, and then included in my book Granite Grumblings (Snap Screen Press, 2011). It is still totally applicable today. I hope you have some fun with it.

I also ask that if you are enjoying this blog, please tell your friends. I have a very loyal following and I greatly appreciate you all, but it would be great to add to the group and with over 110 posts now, I think there might be something on here for almost everyone. It is amazing how a blog from New Hampshire can develop followers from Malaysia and China to Equador and France but that is one of the virtues of the internet. Thanks to all of you.

Glenn K. Currie

Thanks for the Worries

Recently my radio blared out at me with an advertisement for the treatment of a newly defined disease. It was described as “generalized anxiety syndrome”.

Upon further analysis it became clear that we were really talking about a fancy name for people who worry too much. I don’t classify this as a new illness since I’ve been suffering from it for years. Of course I didn’t know I had a disease. I thought I just worried too much. Now I can worry about a disease.

Even better, the advertiser says he has a new experimental drug to treat the disease. So I can also worry about whether I should take the drug. I can also worry about why, if this drug is so good, they are desperately advertising for volunteers. After all, almost everyone I know worries too much. And who can blame them.

Our national capability to worry is almost unlimited. And it is strongly reinforced by media that is not happy unless they are pushing the public panic button.

The material to do this is plentiful and I have put together just a small sampling of the basic equal-opportunity worries that assault our senses. I have purposely left off this list the really well-known concerns such as smoking, AIDS, Ebola, high blood pressure, cancer, etc., which are actual real worries. Instead, I am going to focus on the vaguer, hit and run issues that the media seem to assault us with on an almost daily basis.

First on the list is food. I don’t have a clue what I should be eating. It used to be that if it tasted good and was fattening, it was bad for you. If it had the flavor of cardboard, you could eat as much as you wanted.

There was lots of guidance from trusted authority figures. Do you remember when your mother told you to drink your milk? You just knew it was good for you. She never said “drink your Coke”. Life was simple.

Then came the media blitz, however, in which the nation’s favorite baby doctor and some cronies declared that milk was a national disaster. Every TV news show and newspaper in the country picked up the story and ran with it.

Of course, some might have been a little skeptical since Dr. Spock was also the guy responsible for the upbringing of all the bubble-headed idiots who became known as the Sixties Generation (of which I must confess to be one).

Dr. Spock, and a triumvirate of milk “experts”, hit us with a massive scare that left the milk industry in tatters, and then nothing. Nobody gave us alternatives, (except breast milk, which is a little tough to come by for a fifty-year-old). And nobody had the courage to step up and tell us that these guys were a couple of pints short of a quart. Instead the subject just suddenly disappeared from the news. It was a hit and run attack on milk that left us worrying without resolution.

Milk is not alone among foods to worry about, however. Sometime over the last couple of decades, the following foods have been declared dangerous to consume: tomatoes, cranberries, grapes, apples, sugar, salt, chicken, beef, all dairy products, swordfish, all processed foods, anything wrapped in plastic, margarine, peanut butter, chocolate, white flour, happy meals and coffee, to name just a few.

That covers almost everything I like, and I know I’ve missed a lot. There’s also some stuff I’m not sure about. Oat bran used to be good, then it was bad or neutral. I don’t know. I don’t care.

But let’s not focus on food worries. There’s a whole smorgasboard of stuff to get us into a panic.
1) Air and water (loaded with pollutants)
2) Sunshine (UV exposure)
3) Televisions, microwaves, electric blankets (radiation)
4) Cell phones (brain cancer)
5) Male pattern baldness (heart attacks)
6) Breast implants (silicone)
7) Charlie Sheen raising children
The list is endless.

So what’s the solution? I’m not sure, but I suspect it doesn’t start with taking some experimental drug, unless you want to know what you’ll be worrying about next.

 Basically, it seems we all need to lighten up a little. Maybe the media need to stop the hit and run attacks. Perhaps they should even consider the source, before they start publishing allegations. After all, in this country you can get some loony tune to make any kind of absurd statement, and if it is repeated enough in the right places, it will achieve some level of credibility.

There are also some things we might be better off not knowing. What am I going to do about it, even if it is true that losing my hair makes me a higher risk candidate for a heart attack. The ensuing anxiety probably jumps my odds another 100 percent.

The public also needs to use a little common sense. (I know this is a toughie). I mean guys were calling their doctors after the news came out to see if they could eliminate the heart attack threat by having a hair transplant. Maybe a head transplant would work.

As for the food issues, maybe we should go back to eating what we like. We’re going to worry about it anyway, so at least let’s have a good time If it turns out we did eat the wrong thing, we can always clean the system out real good by turning on C-Span and watching Washington politics at work. Now that is something to worry about.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I get very frustrated with the inability of Congress to function effectively. The art of compromise seems to have been lost with the obtuse group we send there.

It seemed like it was time for desperate measures. So I withdrew into my fourth grade personna that I used to write “A Boy’s First Diary(Snap Screen Press, 2007) and I asked “little Glenn” what he would do to fix Congress. This was his response:

1)      I think we should make all the Congress people sit together like they do in school. Miss Fernapple said all the boys can’t sit on one side and the girls on the other. She says that would be segregation and she mixes us all up with each other. Now I have to sit next to Snobby Donna and even do some projects with her. She’s still a stinky tattle-tale, but I don’t put cockroaches in her locker anymore. If all the Republicans and Democrats had to sit next to each other, maybe they would do better on projects too.
2)      All the Congress people should have to go to lunch together and eat the same stuff that they serve us at school. I bet they would get tired of the turnip salads and tofu burgers real fast, and maybe then they would bring back pizza and chocolate chip cookies, and be in a better mood to work together.
3)      Congress people should have homework just like we do. Maybe if they had assigned homework they would read their bills before they pass them. I think civics and geography homework would also be good for them.
4)      I think they should have to ride to and from work on school buses. Those seats are really uncomfortable, there are no seat belts, and the shock absorbers are so bad that they would soon vote to fix the roads and bridges.  Buses would also probably cut down on traffic and pollution in Washington, and make parking easier. There might be some bullying on the buses, but Mr. Mullins would fix that fast.
5)      Miss Fernapple makes all of us turn off our phones in class. I think this would be a good idea for Congress, too. My dad says that if the Congress people actually had to listen to all the stupid speeches they make down there, maybe some of them would shut up.
6)      They should require better attendance. I get detention every time I skip a class. I think Congress people should too, unless they have a note from a responsible person.

Good luck finding one of those in Washington.

Glenn K. Currie

Friday, November 7, 2014

Now that we are about to send a fairly large number of new people to Congress, and state and city governments, it might be an appropriate time to implore them to do something about all the archaic and unnecessary laws and regulations that we have on the books.

Because of the nature of our various bureaucracies, there seem to be constant pressures to write new rules and regulations, whether we need them or not. Pushing for this is what justifies the continued growth of government, which in turn causes us to hire more workers. This then allows managers to claim a need for higher salaries to run these larger departments.

Congress and state legislatures meanwhile aid and abet this mudslide of new rules by passing new laws. This is how our elected officials show their electorate that they are “doing something”. The truth is that the electorate, for the most part, would like everyone to just leave them alone, but there is always some pressure group or business pushing for something that will promote their interests. And we all know that money and “pitchforks and torches” are what determine life for elected officials. Nobody wants the media to call them “do nothings”, so we wind up with 100,000 pages of IRS rules and 2000 page healthcare bills that are passed without reading.

When was the last time someone got credit for eliminating laws, or rules and regulations? It sure would be nice, however, if somewhere in this country someone was actually looking at making our lives a little simpler?

If I were President or a Governor, the first thing I would do is offer meaningful bonuses to our government employees for identifying archaic or dysfunctional laws and regulations that could be eliminated. And I guarantee there are plenty of them. The bonus money we would pay would be more than offset by the savings to the governments and the public of getting them off the books.

It’s too bad that there isn’t some way a Congress person could get their name on a bill that eliminated existing rules and regs. But that would hurt the business of CPA’s and lawyers and bureaucrats across the country. And who really runs Congress?

I wrote “There Oughta Be a Law” (Granite Grumblings, 2011) to complain about how complicated government makes our lives. If you tossed all the federal, state and city laws into a mixer and spread them everywhere, you would have a world where you should theoretically be afraid to step outside your front door (and probably be afraid to go into your bedroom).

All of the concerns listed in this article deal with laws that are in effect somewhere in this country. And since then, we have actually also instituted some food laws that I only joked about as a possibility. Silly me.

Glenn K. Currie

There Oughta Be a Law, Oh Wait, There Is One!

We have too many laws! Every time some politician or pressure groupie wakes up with a bad hair day, Congress or some state or city governing body passes a new statute. This has been going on since 1776 and is an accelerating trend. We keep adding new laws and hardly ever take the old ones off the books.

The lawyers like to joke that we are no longer the “land of the free” but instead are the “land of the fee”, and they are right. Before we say or do almost anything in the current litigious atmosphere, we need to check with a lawyer, accountant, environmental consultant, or OSHA expert, to make sure we aren’t breaking some kind of statute or code. And a lot of times you can’t even get a straight answer from them, because so many laws are vaguely written or archaic. Some of these laws are so old and out of touch with present society that they haven’t been enforced in years. But they are still there and are available to be pulled out at a moment’s notice, to be used by angry enforcement personnel for selective prosecution.

The Supreme Court recently addressed this when they tossed out the selective prosecution of someone for a bedroom law which had been on the books for years, but was almost never enforced. There are similar laws out there for a whole range of “crimes against the state”, including a slew of other bedroom violations, safety regulations, dress codes, and general “busybody” intrusions.

I started to wonder how many of these laws I might have violated at one time or another. I decided to think about a normal event that might have turned me into a criminal somewhere in this country. I thought about my morning walk. Correct that, a hypothetical walk that I might have taken but really never did. Here is a list of hypothetical actions that would have gotten me in trouble somewhere in the United States, although not necessarily in Concord.

1)      I jay walked across several side streets.
2)      I walked on the grass in Capital Park.
3)      I loitered outside the bagel shop.
4)      I littered by tossing some bagel bits to the birds.
5)      I actually did feed the birds (two sparrows).
6)      I cussed at a car that almost ran me over in the crosswalk.
7)      I used a handicapped stall in the McDonalds men’s room (they only have one stall).
8)      I wore a Dartmouth Indian t-shirt.

I also observed the following crimes being committed:

1)      A really heavy guy jogged by me topless.
2)      A kid was riding his bike on the sidewalk.
3)      A lady was walking her dog and he was not on his leash.
4)      A dog did publicly defecate in Bicentennial Square (without bag).
5)      A guy publicly grabbed his girlfriend’s rear end.
6)      A lady plugged a meter.
7)      A guy popped his four-year-old on the bottom after the kid ran out into the street.
8)      A motorcycle couple drove down Main Street without helmets.

Now I know many of you are saying that I am ridiculous for even bringing this stuff up, but somewhere in this country there are groups of people who are horrified by each of these actions, and are ready to prosecute. Actually, if they saw it, everyone would be ready to prosecute the topless guy.

The thing that really scares me, however, is that not only do we have a lot of dumb laws on the books, but also we keep putting out new ones every day. And no one seems to sunset any of them.

We could easily have laws soon for all sorts of things from banning fast foods, to demanding the wearing of sunglasses in sunny climates, to requiring restrictor plates on cars. There is no end in sight to the foolishness of some of this stuff.

So the next time you take a walk, or work in your garden (poppies may soon be illegal), or build a deck with pressure-treated wood, or go to Burger King, get some legal advice, or face the possibility of spending a few years in the slammer.

As the keeper of the flame for “living free”, New Hampshire needs to take a stand and tell all the nanny’s to take a seat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Here are a few thoughts while watching stupid stuff on television:

All the extra channels just seem to give more members of our population the opportunity to prove they are idiots.

What does it tell us when a candidate runs a negative political ad on television that would embarrass a four year old in a spitting contest and then says, “I’m ----- and I approved this message”.

What does it say about us when we send this person to Congress and are disappointed that all they do is have spitting contests.

Do people who win the lottery understand that it is often one of the worst things that will ever happen to them? Their life will be run by lawyers and accountants in an environment where their greatest aspiration may to somehow free themselves from the expectations of others.

Why do the car dealers that run the dumbest ads seem to be the most successful? Think about that if you are one of the customers who made them rich.

Most of us watch sports to get away from politics and crime. So why don’t the announcers and commentators understand this. If I really want to hear intimate details on why Ray Rice cold-cocked his wife, there are 47 cable news stations and twenty three talk shows that are dealing with it.

I wish real life was like crime shows. Almost every show has an informant who somehow, in a city of ten million people, knows somebody who knows who did it. Those are the guys we should put on the payroll for the big bucks.

What is it about vampires and the walking dead that is so fascinating? Do we really want to see more examples of people who suck our blood? And as reality shows will testify, most of the population are already brain dead, so where do the zombies think they will find anything useful.

Glenn K. Currie

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Usually when I fly, I choose an aisle seat. I like to get up and move around without disturbing anyone. Sometimes, however, after a hard trip, I want to dive into a window seat where I can be left alone to stare out at the world and maybe regain a little perspective.

I have flown across the United States many times, but I never get tired of seeing and imagining life in the tiny worlds that pass below.

Places (Daydreams, 2004) was written after returning home on a fifteen hour flight from Saudi Arabia to Houston.

Near the end of the trip, as we crossed above the towns and cities of America, I realized how much I envied the people below. I decided that, on the whole, I would rather be on an evening walk in a small town, than riding a vapor trail at 30, 000 feet.

That trip ultimately marked a turning point in my life.

Glenn K. Currie


We were chasing the sun,

Across the country.

But we were too slow.

Now we fly in its wake.

Breathing a trail,

In gathering darkness.

Below, appearing in the dusk,

Are dollhouse clusters,

Of warm lights.

Small worlds, where evening comes

At measured pace.

Embraced with pleasure.

Towns where people walk,

Looking up to see,

Pastel streaks in the sky.

Places without names.

Quickly fading.

Lost behind the horizon.

Places that never knew,

That they were lost.

But hope they won’t be found.




Thursday, October 23, 2014


Why do people run? They run towards things, away from things and sometimes just to stay in the same place.

The world seems to grow bigger every day. Burdens pile upon us from regulations, taxes, families, expectations and disappointments.

Both literally and psychologically we are a nation of runners. The few people who actually move in the slow lanes are considered impediments to progress. We run to escape the realities of this demanding world and to keep up with them. For those fortunate enough to be able to physically run, often the result is to slow the spin down. They reach a point where the colors of the land change from the harsh reds and yellows of everyday life to the soft pastels that bring them to a quieter place. This is called the runner’s high, and for those who have been there, you understand why people are out there rain or shine, putting in the miles.

As I have aged I have reached a point where I can no longer run. The world continues to speed by, however. I miss the escape.

I wrote The Runner (Riding in Boxcars, 2006) when I was about thirty-two. Running helped me through a tough period. I suspect many in our society can relate to it.

Glenn K. Currie
                                                           The Runner

He ran. Fled really. Out

narrow side streets. Into the country,

past fields, fallow, and farms falling

into themselves. Away from crying

babies, needing him

in jobs with no future. Away

from nightmare nights and days

where rooms grow small.


He ran for the pain. Torturing

his body. Leaving everything

behind. Running until he could taste

the colors of the country.

Pastel greens and blues floating

with him. Distilled spirits drunk

with each breath.

Finally losing the zone.

Flashing reds and yellows

Bringing him slowly home.


He ran. To escape the lost dreams.

Lives never lived. Life being lived.

He ran keeping his times.

Marking the minutes and seconds.

Hoping to travel,

the same road faster.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I wrote “Thirty-Five and Holding” (Daydreams, 2004) when I was thirty-five (surprise!). I had just been named President of a new subsidiary of Avco Corporation and was traveling constantly while we set up a support group in the Middle East. I had two young children and we had just moved to Houston, Texas.

I was at a point with a Fortune 500 company where I could make an enormous career jump if I executed this new assignment correctly. The pressure was substantial and the atmosphere unforgiving.

While on a trip to Saudi Arabia, I sat down one night and wrote this poem. I used rhyme because it helped to portray the feelings of one riding a merry-go-round without an off switch. And I subtitled it (A Country Song) because  we were living in Texas and it seemed like it would make a great subject for lots of people going through a variety of different struggles with jobs and young families.

As I look back, I still feel that it captured the emotions of those years pretty well.

Glenn K. Currie

                                                Thirty Five and Holding
                                                     (A Country Song)

                                                Got a house owned by bankers,

                                                And a job without no friends,

                                                But the pay is really something,

                                                My future’s without end.


                                                Yeah, I’m thirty-five and holding,

                                                And I’m livin’ on the run,

                                                But I’m thinkin’ of the glory,

                                                The good times still to come.


                                                My family doesn’t know me,

                                                I’m a stranger at the door,

                                                Just empty out the suitcase,

                                                And fill it up with more.


                                                Cause I’m thirty-five and holding,

                                                There’s lots of time for fixin’ that,

                                                Just bring the kids a present,

Read ‘em “The Cat in the Hat”.


The windows are never open,

No matter where I go,

And the scenes of life are hidden,

By the TV’s steady glow.


Still I’m thirty-five and holding,

And my grip is really strong,

I can’t let the empty feeling,

Make it all go wrong.


Have some coffee in the mornin’,

And clear the evening haze,

Opportunities before me,

To fill the busy days.


When you’re thirty-five and holding,

You are fighting for the ring,

You can’t ever lose the focus,

Success, the only thing.



Saturday, October 11, 2014


I chatted with a friend recently about our experiences in Vietnam. He had spent a lot more time in-country than I, and also had been involved in several of the more intense ground conflicts. But our takes on the war itself were pretty similar…and not too different from what we saw happening now in the Middle East.

These are political wars fought from remote locations by leaders more intent on making themselves look good than accomplishing any real objectives. (Has there been any time when that approach has actually worked?)

In Vietnam, we sent troops in harm’s way with no real plan. Fight a bloody battle to take or hold a hill, then leave because it was untenable. Drop bombs in the jungle because cities, airports, dams, and harbors were too politically harmful, then complain because all these bombs had no effect. Change military objectives weekly depending on the whims of Washington.

In Vietnam we got involved in a long war (by my count thirteen years). There never seemed to be a sense of immediacy in whatever we were doing (except getting out). Our men and women were sent over there and left to flail around in the culture. The troops on the front lines went through hell without direction or purpose. Support personnel and military leadership settled into a daily life that mostly involved staying out of the headlines. It was a “bizarro” world where no one knew what was expected of them.

We have been sinking into the same swamp in the Middle East. Our politicians have no idea what they are trying to accomplish. They make decisions based on what their political base tells them. They have lost the support of the country and seem to have no real concept of what war is. It’s like watching a guy get into a bar fight where he is just trying not to lose. Ultimately he will get his ass kicked.

I wrote DaNang 1968 (Riding in Boxcars, 2006) when I was over there. It is symbolic of our whole effort over there and, on a broader scale of our current politicians’ concepts of how to fight a war. We would do well to heed the simple words that most of us learned on the playing fields of America, “win or go home”.

Glenn K. Currie


DaNang 1968


He was water skiing,

Weaving back and forth,

And against the tropical scene,

He was a typical tourist.


A little further out,

Resting gently on the aqua sea,

The Repose cradled its wounded,

Dressed in a large red cross.


The skier, in graceful silhouette,

Passed before smoking hills,

Where mortar rounds, like distant drums,

Boomed beats to his ballet.


The forces of life and death,

Seemed joined here in tortured embrace,

A not so peaceful union,

That could last forever.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


I drove through Franklin, NH, last weekend and was reminded again of how the world has changed in the last fifty years.

Our country’s economy has transformed from a manufacturing base to one dependent on service businesses and high tech. In the process we have witnessed many factory towns become invisible.

The smoke stacks have gradually disappeared, many remaining only as memorials to a lost way of life. Those few that still function are under constant assault from our own government as well as those in other parts of the world that are anxious to replace them.

For those citizens who are trapped in the cities and towns that depended on manufacturing, it has become a cold and empty existence.

Factory Town (Riding in Boxcars, 2006) is a reflection of what I saw as I visited many of these places.

Glenn K. Currie


Factory Town

Smoke from high stacks,

Is disappearing,

 Carried away by a frigid wind,

Sweeping in from the West,


Barren horizons.

Night lights,

Of  homes and factories,

Burn weakly,

Their reflections

An orange blur

Against blackened snow.

Asian wolves,

Silently watch

From ancient woods,

Waiting for stragglers,

Too old

To keep pace.

Broken windows shiver

In the cold.

Fragile shelter

From invaders,


The land.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Almost every day I read some story by someone complaining about the huge income disparity between the mega-rich and the ordinary citizen. Usually the complaint isn’t about the person who has worked and succeeded and is worth a few million. The concern is about the people who have stumbled into a few billion. It is hard to deny that these kinds of disparities create a feeling that society is spinning out of control.


However, as often as we worry about this stuff, I can’t help feeling that we are worrying about the wrong things. You don’t have to look very hard to find that a lot of the super-rich are pretty darn unhappy. They wind up getting trapped by their wealth. They have huge houses, lots of cars and maybe a few yachts. But all this stuff does is wall them in. They become isolated from the real world, trade relationships like stocks, can’t trust anyone to actually like them, and become physically and emotionally stunted.


They need a retinue to go to the movies or a restaurant, wear disguises to hide from the press, and need security contingents to protect them from their fellow citizens.


There is something to be said for climbing a mountain rather than taking a helicopter to get to the top. The view of the world through binoculars is less impressive when you don’t really know what you’re looking at.

There are too many examples to list of celebrities and super-rich who die alone and unhappy. Many never really had a relationship with their children and spent most of their married lives showing off trophy wives in museums that posed as houses.

I say, let’s work to create an economy where everyone who is willing to work at it, will be able to provide well for themselves and their families. But it is pointless to worry about the super-rich. They are stuck in their misery and there is not much we can do about it. Most of them probably need a roadmap to find the bathroom in their forty-two room houses and haven’t had a sit-down meal with their family in twenty years. They are lucky they have servants who love them.

I wrote Master of the Universe (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) to focus on the lives of the “rich and famous”. How many of you would like to swap with this guy?

Glenn K. Currie


Master of the Universe


He lay on the large bed

Surrounded by pillows.

A ceiling fan circled above,

Scattering the stale air.

A shaft of sunlight exposed dust, dancing.

He could hear doctors and lawyers

Whispering in the next room,

While reporters hung by the gate

Waiting for a story.

Gardenias sent by his third wife,

Wilted in an expensive vase

In the kitchen, servants gathered,

Talking about the future.

Happy not to be him.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

They say when you reach a certain age you start to look backward more often than you look ahead. Perhaps this is because it is more comforting to look back.

I recently wrote a poem (Looking at 16 from 70) about looking back to age sixteen. This was a time when everything seemed ahead of me, and yet the world was a confusing place where emotions and hormones made relationships an intimidating walk through a minefield. I was a child trying to act like an adult.

Most of us have lived through a similar period. Love, mixed with sex, was a  new encounter which became so overwhelming during those years that common sense was forced to live in a tiny corner of a very cluttered mind.

The terrible truth about our teenage years is we often make decisions with little understanding of consequences. We only find out if we made the right ones when we have travelled far down the path of adulthood.

Sometimes, however, we just aren’t ready to make decisions and we pick up our blanket and go home. And we file away a memory that ages well when mixed with the Beach Boys and summer starlight.

Glenn K. Currie


Looking at 16 from 70

Do you remember when we lay

Beneath the summer stars?

Cassiopea gently lighting

An ebbing tide and the Gloucester dunes.


I thought I might die that day,

My breath so short and tight.

We were children swimming

In an ocean so deep.


Soft silver bathed our bodies,

As we developed in a dark room

Of desperate expectations,

And uncertain exposure.


But we were children still,

Finally shaking the sand

From a blanket that couldn’t cover

Our clumsy innocence.


Do you remember when we lay,

Holding back the sea.

Before the tide came in

And washed away the stars.


Copyright 2014 Glenn K. Currie

Monday, September 22, 2014


As October approaches I am putting up a new poem, October Walk.

This is a beautiful time in New England, filled with pastels that warm the crisp air to a perfect temperature. But like everything else in life, there is no free lunch. October will be followed by the darker days of late fall and winter. And while these months have their own stark beauty, the colors of the world will quickly fade from our sight.

The seasons play with us here: filled with promises that may be kept or broken. It is hard to read the leaves of autumn.

Glenn K. Currie


October Walk

It is the season

Of diminished expectations,

When the world comprehends

Its limitations.

Streets are filled

With fallen dreams,

Swept up by colder winds.


I feel them tugging

At my trousers.

An undertow, gently dragging me

Into a sea of color,

Then spitting me out

In a whirling breath

Of devils at play.


I am part of a canvas

Painted by revelations.

Tiny pieces from the palette

Float on the arc

Of the universe,

Then scatter around me,

Fading in the evening light.

 Copyright 2014 Glenn K. Currie