The After Party

Happy to report that a new Doug Hoekstra poem, “The After Party,” is up and running at the estimable Deep South Magazine right here:

Deep South is an online magazine covering the literature and culture of the South, celebrating . Southern literature by interviewing authors, reviewing their books, creating reading lists and visiting landmarks.  Their  Southern Voice section presents submitted fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and featured some Hoekstra prose in the past (thank you much).  Check ‘em out and enjoy

Posted in 2018, love, Music, Poetry, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ode to Brian Jones

Recently went to see the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism at the Musicians Hall of Fame here in Nashville. Got me reflecting on the founder of the stones, the long gone Brian Jones.

Ode to Brian Jones

Blonde hair. Devilish grin
Dreaming of a pink Cadillac
In a fan club questionnaire
Praising Muddy. Howling Wolf,
Before anybody knew. Or cared.

Vox dobro. Silence behind glass
The birthdate that we share
I remember Brian Jones. Pisces
The fading light that glimmers
On everyone but him.


Posted in 2018, dreams, Music, Poetry, time, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monument Valley

DSC_0162 edit post 2.jpg

Musings from a recent trip with my son Jude. An evocative place, in so many ways. Enjoy. 

Monument Valley

Heading south on 191
Cars slip away like magic
As we head closer to the reservation
As if a 40 percent poverty rate might
Stick to the skin like a bad rash
Instead of an opportunity to serve
Another point of view

Purple sage, rich red sand, black
Apache tears under vast white clouds
Dropped onto an eggshell blue sky,
Cracked backdrop of spiritual enlightenment
Crass commercialism and cinematic dreams
John Wayne’s ghost battling with
A simpler way of life

100_7952 for post 1.jpg


Posted in 2018, Life, politics, time, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brief Candles and Macbeth

Not a poem, not a story, not an essay, this is just a musing

Recently I watched Orson Welles’ Macbeth with my son.  It’s one  of his masterful everything from nothing films, put together on a shoestring budget and delivered as fine art. Although, even as he pointed out, the costumes are a little rough, with Orson’s Macbeth looking like a cross between a Scottish king and the Statue of Liberty. No pun intended, Orson took liberties with all source material, but he was reverential to the bard and this familiar passage, once again, resonated.

“She should have died hereafter.
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

(Macbeth, William Shakespere)

The language is so beautiful, yet it drives plot and character within its poetry. Dang. Some folks nowadays question whether Shakespeare wrote all the stuff himself, but does it matter? The words live and breathe, a living world twitter can’t touch.

As a side “note,” this passage also reminds me of the Zombies great “pinch” from Odyssey and Oracle, “Brief Candles.”

Posted in 2018, Film, movies, Music, shakespeare, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Orleans Night – Fifty Words

Happy to be featured today at 50-Word Stories, with a new piece, served up at…fifty words. A tough task and this one deals with some tough issues. Enjoy.

Posted in 2018, microfiction, temptation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

April Fool’s

April Fool’s Day (a Short Essay)

When I was a kid, my folks always played the same April Fool’s joke on me. I’d be lying in bed and one of them would come in and wake me,  saying “it snowed last night.” Of course, I’d get up, look out my bedroom window, and see there was no snow.

It’s a memory I have and at this point, all memories of my folks are good ones, now that they’re not around. Even the bad times become good, my tip for those of you who still have your parents.  That said, in hindsight, I always wondered why they fooled me with that one, because as Prince once sang, sometimes it does snow in April…particularly in Chicago

As time went on, however, I joined in and then, kept trying to raise the bar. About five years ago, a couple years before they passed, I came up with a good one. I called them up from Nashville and told my Dad that my brother Dave was engaged to be married. ‘Didn’t he tell you?” I said, incredulous they hadn’t heard.

FYI, my brother is the Harry Dean Stanton of bachelors.

My dad was floored. “Irene,” he shouted, “get on the phone. It’s Douglas.” She got on the other line and I explained. “I guess he just met her,” I added, “and he’s head over heels.” I added a bit more to the tale, making it up as I went along, keeping it going just long enough to spring the punchline. April Fool’s!

They both cracked up. In fact, they loved it so much that as soon as we got off the phone, my dad pranked my brother with the same joke, with me as the centerpiece. They were around 90 years old at the time, still sharp as could be.

On a recent road trip, my son and I listened to some family interviews I did with my folks about ten years before they passed. I used a book I found on oral histories and covered every part of their life, from childhood through the war to their meeting, to us kids. One thing I notice listening back is that they were completely of their generation, in that they didn’t readily express emotions. Lots of questions about love and family were answered in very understated tones, like “well, it was good to have a companion” or “it was time to plan our lives together.” That’s how it was back then. That’s what you did. You got after it. You did what you were supposed to do, but you didn’t make a big deal about it.

But, for some reason, April Fool’s was different, as they threw the restraint and caution out the wind, somehow appropriate with the coming of spring. And today, I can hear echoes of their laughter coming in from the other side.

goofingoofin (2)

(pix of my folks goofing – w/my son on the right)


Posted in 2018, essays, family, Life, memory, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ode to the Sunday Paper

Just in time for the weekend, folks….

Ode to the Sunday Paper

One of my greatest pleasures is
sitting down on Sunday morning
cup of coffee in hand, once
twice, three times refilled
reading through every section of
the newspaper, curiosity landing
on my lap like the blue jay
at the feeder outside my door
fighting off the squirrels

I think of my father, sitting
in his overstuffed recliner with
the Chicago Tribune and Sun-times
stacked up next to him on
the piano bench, a purchasing
agent by trade, he’d start with
the ads, check out the deals,
laugh at the comics and
work his way to politics

The New York Times is
delivered to my doorstep
in a blue plastic sleeve to
protect it from rain water and
other unsavory characters,
layered, complex, and ever
changing, it never disappoints
bores me with its stories or
lets me down with its omissions

This past week, it was
Universal Basic Income
The Mueller Investigation
Renaming the Dinosaurs
Losing My Eyesight
Disappearing Coastlines
Consent for Millennials
Parkland Kids vs. the NRA
and the Breeders new album

Sometimes newsprint gets
on my fingers, but words
unfold and let me inside
never turning away, interrupting
or correcting me needlessly
on the length of my fingernails
or the smudge on the rim of my cup
accidentally missed, because of
my bad eyesight and busy schedule

I should throw it away anyways
because I have too many souvenirs
I’m told, and am too sentimental,
taking too many pictures of things
I love, savoring moments of simple
bliss because they make me feel good
and are worth cherishing like
the Sunday paper, which incidentally
never lets me down…or

chastises me for overdressing because
it has worn the same clothes for three days
straight and feels inadequate as a result,
a personal choice, no fault of my own,
the reminder causing a vase to
fly miraculously across the room
shattering on the wall, perilously close to
where I stand, accompanied by barbs
bouncing rapidly off my chest

like machine gun arrows on armor
asshole, drama queen, sociopath
words typically reserved for dictators
on trial for terrible war crimes
most of the time –  I let it go
people are only human
forgiveness is key
kindness is not weakness and
everyone makes mistakes

Whether it’s a reporter on the beat
or the lover on the run
grace is a white rhinoceros
fighting extinction -whether
sliced, diced or rationalized,
the Sunday paper doesn’t do this
even when it arrives on Saturday night
which is why I’m always glad to see it
and it never lets me down

100_7861 (2).JPG






Posted in 2018, observation, Poetry, Relationships, Uncategorized, Writing, zen | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment