Election Day

Only the one you love can break your heart. I love America; my country. And this morning about 7 am Norway time, she broke mine. She’s broke it before. She’s also given me years of love and I seek to be a good partner and understand her, but she can be emotional and nonsensical to me sometimes. I am a liberal, a progressive, whatever you want to call it. So I’m always distraught when the things I believe in don’t move forward; but this time feels different. I’m a writer, and to me words matter. There have been things said by the President elect about my fellow citizens that trouble me, and they can’t be taken back (even if they were rhetorical). If you voted for him, of course I’m not mad at you, I understand why your’e frustrated; I just don’t think he’s the answer. Still, we have a Constitution. We are a republic. And the voters have spoken. I have been talking with my Dutch, German, Swiss and Norwegian friends about how this was even possible. I still didn’t expect it to happen. This morning I awoke at 6am and grabbed my phone to see what was happening and was stunned to see how it was looking. I got up and showered and walked around sub zero Ringebu’s snow covered streets looking for a cup of coffee but nothing was open. By 8 she had conceded. At 9 the bakery below the B&B was open and I finally got the caffeine my brain was craving and a breakfast roll that went down uneasy with my queasy stomach. Nothing to do but continuously refresh my phone till the train at 10. I have family and friends who voted for the new President. They already know I disagree with them, I still love them. I hope those of us very worried about him are wrong. There has to be rule of law for our Democracy to continue. We’ll see. And I have to wonder if the situation were reversed would they do the same? I guess I have to believe they would. I have to hope. This morning on the train down to Oslo, I didn’t realize I had to change at Lillehammer and had hurried off grabbing my guitar and suitcase and trying to not get stranded in the cold; I left my gloves on the train. I ran back to grab them since there were still a few minutes. The conductor had already found them and was walking them back to me. “Thanks” I said. “American?” He replied. “Yes”. Apparently my face and eyes told the story in my heart. “I’m very sorry” he replied. I looked in his eyes and said “Thank you”. I couldn’t tell him how much a little bit of compassion meant to me this morning. Even if it came from another Country. I’m not home experiencing this in real time with my fellow citizens. Maybe it’s harder to heal far away? I have a job to do today, so I’m gonna go do it (mine’s playing songs), just like every other American. That’s what we do, roll up our sleeves and go to work. Try to make life a little bit better. We have a lot of work to do America. Now more than ever. I pledge to do more, and encourage others to as well to make our Union stronger. I still think we are stronger together. So as I type this on the train trying to sum up how I feel, I become a bit homesick. But I’ll see you at Thanksgiving America.  





I have been looking for the truth
As a child it was everywhere
It danced on my shoulders late at night
While I drew
And made up characters and stories
Till someone made me go to bed

It pushed me alone in the woods
To explore the next creek
The next clearing, the next rock to climb up to
The next entrance to a long forgotten cave
It knew what I loved
It gave me confidence that I knew what I loved
And what loved me

But then it started leaving me
And I saw less and less of it
It still came around every now and then
Late at night in the Factory working alone during college
In the mountains of Asheville with my best friend
When my first nephew was born
As an adult it has been much more difficult to find
I caught a glimpse of it again in the mountains above Milan in Italy
The one year anniversary of 9/11 in the bottom of a bottle of Canadian whiskey
Staring at a blank television screen
Lying on my back on the side of the road in Oklahoma staring at the stars
With a broke down van and Jimmy Webb singing in the background
like some Phantom of an Okie Opera
Staring out at the ocean off Highway One in Northern California
In the tasseled blonde locks on a girl who had no idea
Just how fast the Earth was falling beneath my feet
On a stage in Holland with a guitar in my hand
On top of a mountain in Idaho with old friends and the wind whispering lyrics in my ear
It seems these days it’s easiest to find up high on a mountain
Or near the water
Or family

There is a corrosion with age that occurs in our connective tissue
It slows down the truth trying to feed us through its’ conduit
Slowing down our ability to connect us to our source
Don’t slow down

~Stephen Simmons





If the mass of men truly lead lives of quiet desperation

And at twenty-seven

I felt this desperation trying to set in

And I rebelled against it

Snuffed out it’s embers

Lying in their settling cauldron


But rebellion turns to habit and governance and control

The chaos and sparks form new patterns

Creating new, opposite and equal reactions of course

In the flame begins to ignite

In those opposite reactions

Once again

The onset

The early stages

That quiet desperation

Whispering like a troll

Looming in the soil once again


Forty-two and obtuse


New look in the reflective surfaces

I pass by each day

Not quite a mirror

But a clue

Or a storm that brews

Far off in the distance

Not threatening destruction and chaos

More of a settling storm of content



The strangling of a rebellion

And sparks

Extinguished with the coming of those massive acidic drops of doom and gloom


Shall not so easily be lost


~Stephen Simmons





The meme travelled from another realm

Not through space or time

But from some other dimension

It came roaring across the hillsides like a train run off the tracks

Bouncing in and out of it’s world and ours

Smashing subatomic particles and screaming quarks that you couldn’t hear, but feel

Not quite here and not quite there

And as it swept through the atmosphere a small piece of it reached the human’s ear

And it said “Feed me”


The journey had weakened the meme

And it was no longer whole

The human had believed deep down in these things

But had never encountered something so concrete to validate these beliefs

Let alone say them out loud

Coming into contact with something so strange, so special and unique

Something that only came to him

Built the human up deep in his own mind in a way he’d never been

The meme was not really of him, but it now dwelt within him

And he was now it’s host

And it whispered “Finish me”


So it’s host sacrificed it’s energy

It’s sleep, it’s time, it’s health to grow this meme and make it once again whole

The meme demanded everything of it’s host

And it gave the meme all that was required

The human cast aside this world’s order

And placed the meme unnaturally atop the new one

His parents disowned him

His mate and all his friends disserted him

His preacher disavowed him

His landlord and old bosses berated him

His neighbors whispered of madness

He ignored them all as his meme whispered nightly “Believe in me”



Over the course of time the human’s energy dissipated and left him

And his flesh returned to the dust of this Earth and it’s Universe

He lived long enough to see the meme grow

Yet not long enough to see how high the arc of it’s growth would truly be

Never taking up another host

But multiplying itself from the collective energy of masses of others over time

For a period there was an extended interaction of two arcs

The meme had grown large enough that it was moderately well known

And the name of the human host

At times fixed as the name to the meme itself

Was remembered for awhile amongst his kind

But the meme continued to grow and expand

While recorded human history eventually forgot the name of the meme’s orginal host

Like all names

And all words

Ultimately are



For while this meme was once very strong

Spoken, sung, taught, studied, lived, mourned, missed and worshipped

It too fades into human history

As it is now only uttered


By few

But still

It says

“Listen to me”


 ~Stephen Simmons





There are answers to these questions

Hidden deep within the mind of man

A connection with our own creation

A primordial conversation with the ancient world

With the cosmos and the very stars that spawned us


It is that feeling in the pit of your stomach

The fleeting thought in the back of your mind

The word on the tip of your tongue

The spark in your eyes

And the longing in your soul


But you must detach from the conversation around you

From the voices hurled at you

Of the immediate world

The neighbors gossip

The town crier

The cowardly patriotic

And the dogmatic faithless


You must listen instead

To the sound of leaves rustling in the trees

The passing car on a far off highway

The wind off a passing train

The crackle of thunder

The silence of lightning

Crickets at dusk

Birds at dawn


Never the individual voice in the crowd

But the roar of the crowd itself

If it indeed roars at all

It’s tone

It’s temperment

It all has something very different

Something collective

To say

~Stephen Simmons