Body Of Bad Decisions

Body Of Bad Decisions

Tires settle around me
all the wasteful instant gratifications pile up
The gravity of lovers not had
sag my breasts on to the shelf of my middling life

My feet are swollen with paths not trod
my arms are flabby with trials not lifted
thighs burbled with loneliness
fingers stiff with words not committed

My brain
Oh my brain is soft with ignored learning

Stagnant decades an atrium of actions never pledged
Puckered skin a gallery of regrets never painted
Each wrinkle a symphony of sins never performed

I carry with me always
a body of bad decisions
which will never drop me

Tressa Lee Breen
October 22, 2013

Dying Time

Dying Time

In a life well spent
age should be worn like Autumn
reds for shades of love shared
oranges for degrees of delight
yellows for grades of gratitude
both given and received
losses bared in browns
and successes shining in golds

In a life well spent
wrinkles should be worn like colors
earned with the work of thoughtfully dropped acorns
and although the cycle is almost complete
there would be no dread of Winter

Those with barren seasons
fear the Fall
they clutch every faded leaf and rotting seed
hoping to bring back Spring
and stall time in eternal Summer

Those with barren seasons
bark at the unblameable wind
and lash out at the optimistic 
over branches they themselves have not gone out on
until even loved ones want to swing the axe

Tressa Lee Breen
October 22, 2013

Third Star

Third Star

Follow me
from the party of my birth
with those thrown out of time
down the turns and bumps of my last road
finding a foul-mouthed angel stealing different time
charging into one last pagan brawl
passing a colorful ferryman and a sci-fi treasure hunting philosopher
by the forest of daydreams become fantasies
over a shortcut cliff to the final bay
where I’ll give up
but never give in

Follow me through
add fires to the stars
among tents filled with joy and deliverance
I’ll raise a morphine toast
As we ride through our choices
over tea and biscuits and a traveling tree
toward a world without me

Follow me down
as I finally finish something
for the first time
and the last
the waves of pain by my own act
I’ll cheat death as I breathe it in
and the tide will take out tragedy
leaving these perfect goodbyes
in the sands of your lives

September 22, 2013
Tressa Lee Breen

Inspired by the movie "Third Star": trailerwebsite, (only Instant Video), (All Regions DVD), IMDb, Wikipedia.

Forgot Want

Forgot Want

Oh yes there was a time I knew desire
and desire knew me
even with this squished melon face
and marshmallow body
desire wanted to taste me
and I wanted to suck its sweetness

Those musky nights of sea and pearls
though deep
never seemed vast
then breaks in the chain
became lost links
and even alone
there were no storms

I didn’t notice passion go nova
didn’t see the heat turn in on itself
and leave a black spot where nothing now lives

I simply forgot Want

Now within me there is a speck of flint
and a throb that flicks against it
almost catches
almost sparks

How can I scream in another’s fire
and merge it with my own
if the last time I burned
was a decade ago
in a work bathroom stall

September 21, 2013
Tressa Lee Breen 
author reading poem



I’ve tales to tell
or at least
I had
until stupidity and laziness smothered them
and yet
they still try to peek through
like stars on a cloudy night…

the thief of the gross out…

the plague grown fat on death…

young woman devoured by her menstrual blood…

morphing into her hate…

fisher of men’s souls, consumer of children’s minds, enslaver of adults’ lives…

the freaks’ outcasts…

progeny of a monster who kills monsters…

out of someone else’s bullshit I grew my life…

I have seen the light and it is black…

what if crazy is all I have left…

beautiful wreck…

…all those stories
I’m going to unbury those stories
throw them into my grave
and use them to climb out

September 20, 2013
Tressa Lee Breen

author reading poem

Burn The Brain

Burn The Brain

Burn the brain

fire the memories to stoke the future
toss the embers of what’s been done
flame the forest of old habits

Turn the ground

read new knowledge into the soil
put old tears to good use
fears to motive actions

Plant the sparks

seedlings pop through snows of doubt
some will not survive the spring
recycle those husks for nourishment

Work the field

prepare for harvest
and if this be not worth cultivation
burn the brain again

September 19, 2013
Tressa Lee Breen
author reading poem



Tree growing around top of fence
a mouth
eating its way out
or trying to pull food in

I don’t remember the fence
Was it there when my past was my present
Was it keeping kids in or out

There’s a lot of junk in there now
cups and crap

How did stuff end up on the other side of those bare boned claws
Candy bags, lunch bags, books, blood and dreams
fallen, dropped, thrown and left beneath the trees

I find myself not wanting to look between the chains
What if there’s more than garbage back there
What if something catches my eyes and pulls me in
over all those rocks and leaves and youthful plans

Could I get in there and save my dreams?

September 19, 2013
Tressa Lee Breen 

Author reading poem~

The Schoolyard~

Nickel (17)


First “white copper” they thought us across the sea
good thing they didn’t bet their tea

In the land of Germania they called us “mischievous sprite”
blinded as they were by our golden tinge of light

but no “Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!”
we’ve not goose stepped one mile

We’re never no “one ring”
you use us to buy bling

Though you may search high and low
in Russia we caused 30 miles of treeless snow

We’ll fly you to your next meal
and help you eat it with stainless steel

We’re the green in your glass
electric guitar strings en masse

Don’t call us wooden or Joe – we’re fickle
for our five cents we prefer nickel

July 1, 2012
Tressa Lee Breen

Research Notes & Tools:

Silvery white lustrous slight golden tinge
Ferromagnetic around room temperature (iron, cobalt, gadolinium)
Classified 1751 by Azel Fredrik Cronstect
In Use 3500 BC
Corrosion resistant
"White Copper" copper/nickel in China
Named after mischievous sprite of German mythology, Nickel, for besetting copper, Kupfernickel or Kupfer - Nickel alloy- cupronickel
Due to cost US remains one fo few that use metal in coins, five cent, save for exterior plating
Stainless steel, magnets, coinage rechargeable batteries, electric guitar strings, microphone capsules, green tint in glass
Willamette meteorite - iron w/ nickel
Russian nickel works/prison in Siberia, Norilsk, no trees grow w/in 30 miles, 1 of 10 most polluted cities in the world
Nickel-iron super alloys used in jet engines

Platinum Platitudes (16)

Platinum Platitudes

Rarer than an honest man attempting to ford a play to curtain’s close

No nickel and copper deal

Resistance, as it turns out, is not futile

Fit for those with monikers like scrivener Stephen

Plays around a million times

Heavier than thirty pieces

Trendier than the karat rule

Holds your preciouses still and safe

Drives ‘til there’s nothing left to inspect

Reluctant to unite doesn’t mean unwilling to bling

May 3, 2012
Tressa Lee Breen

My Notes & Resource Tools:
Name: Spanish, "platinade pinto", "little silver of the Pinto river"
Dense, malleable, gray-white
One of the rarest elements: 0,005mg/kg
Occurs in nickel and copper deposits as well as native
80% world production in South Africa
Resistant to corrosion, wear, tarnish
Catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, electrodes, thermometers, dentistry equipment, jewelry
King Louis XV: "The only metal fit for a King"
Album, 1 million copies sold-Platinum
Heavier than silver, trendier than gold
1898, Louis Cartier started the platinum with gems trend
Crude oil to gasoline, spark plugs (last for life of car)
Reluctance to combine chemically with other elements

A review of "The History Channel: In Search Of History: Lincoln: The Untold Stories"

The History Channel: In Search Of History: Lincoln: The Untold Stories (1998)

From Amazon-

“When Lincoln died, his former law partner William Herndon talked to over 250 friends for a now forgotten biography. Using his original papers, Douglas Wilson and Rodney Davis published Herndon's Informants 130 years later. Drawing on this rich new source, we paint an intimate portrait of Lincoln drawn from fact not myth.”

My two Lincolns:

Historian interviews, period photos, and the-should’ve-not-been-done “peer interview” reenactments = a very basic overview than an in-depth portrait. Unless it’s free and you’re bored, skip it.

A review of "A. Lincoln: A Commitment To Honor: A Unique Portrait Of Abraham Lincoln In His Own Words” edited by Gordon Leidner

A. Lincoln: A Commitment To Honor: A Unique Portrait Of Abraham Lincoln In His Own Words edited by Gordon Leidner (2000)

From Amazon-

No U.S. president has espoused and embodied virtues such as honesty, faith, determination, and character to the extent Abraham Lincoln did. In addition to his quotations on subjects such as leadership, honesty, faith, kindness, and liberty, ‘A Commitment To Honor’ includes insights from those who knew him best and photographs of Lincoln.

My two Lincolns:

This is basically the same type of book as the previously micro-reviewed “The Wit And Wisdom Of Abraham Lincoln” (edited by Alex Ayres, 1992) with better packaging. The quotes are separated into Topics but unfortunately, there are no “when/where” descriptives immediately following (notes are in the back of the book). There are quotes about Lincoln pertaining to the topic by contemporary peers. Again, like “The Wit And Wisdom…” it’s the lightest shadow of Lincoln’s whisper but in a prettier book.

Favorite quote about Lincoln:

“His great mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and second, to free his country form the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both, he must have the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his loyal fellow-countrymen. Without this primary and essential condition to success his efforts must have been vain and utterly fruitless. Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.” ~ Frederick Douglass

A review of "The Wit And Wisdom Of Abraham Lincoln" edited by Alex Ayres

The Wit And Wisdom Of Abraham Lincoln edited by Alex Ayres (1992)

From Amazon-

"’Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.’ Rather than the dour soul he sometimes appeared to be, Abraham Lincoln enjoyed a fine, often barbed sense of humor as this lively collection of his salty stories, anecdotes, quotes and speech excerpts proves. Also included in this treasury are his famous addresses, a Lincoln time-line, and sections on Lincoln Lore, Gettysburg Gems and Assassination Secrets.”

My two Lincolns:

The wit and wisdom is separated alphabetically and then by topic. Each quote has a short “when/where” descriptive after it to put it into context (no pictures/illustrations). It tries to capture Lincoln’s voice but only emits the lightest shadow of its whisper. Perfect for those who just want to be able to look cool quoting Lincoln or a youngling just getting interested in Ol’ Abe.

A review of "Time: Abraham Lincoln: His Life And Times: An Illustrated History"

Time: Abraham Lincoln: His Life And Times: An Illustrated History (2009)

From Amazon-

“This richly illustrated volume celebrates Abraham Lincoln by exploring the fascinating life and times of the president who saved the Union. Here, in more than 160 little-seen photos and illustrations, is a great nation still young and rapidly transforming. Here is the growth of the frontier and the Indian and Mexican wars; the advent of the telegram and the railroad; the battle over states` rights that erupted into the Civil War. And here in all its passion, complexity and tragedy, is the life story of the wise, visionary President who summoned America`s founding ideals to keep the nation united.”

My two Lincolns:

There are many excellent essays on different aspects of Lincoln but the joy of this book is indeed the illustrations. They cover a huge amount of territory, not just Lincoln & family & contemporaries but places, maps, newspapers, tools, posters, art, etc. “Vivid” is how I would describe this book.

That being said, this is the first book that I’ve read so far that has brought up a rather large issue that Lincoln had to deal with during his Presidency that was not directly Civil War related: the Sioux uprising of 1862. Ultimately, 38 Sioux warriors were hung (the largest mass execution in US history). This was out of an original 300. Lincoln personally reviewed each case and reduced the number even though it could cost him white settler votes in Minnesota (he said he wouldn’t hang innocent men for votes).

There are also excellent “For Further Reading” and “Historical Sites” sections in the back.

(As I’m in the early stages of my Lincoln exploration I do not know how accurate or inaccurate the details of the Uprising story are; a quick Google found numbers at 38/303 and 39/303, no mention of the Lincoln vote quote and another having it has “I could not afford to hang men for votes”. Just an FYI.)

A review of "The Day Lincoln Was Shot"

The Day Lincoln Was Shot (TV Movie, 1998)

From IMDB-

“The Murder. The Manhunt. The Events That Stunned A Nation.

My two Lincolns micro-review:

Directed by John Gray.

Based on book of same name by Jim Bishop (full disclosure: I haven’t read it).

As the war-weary, fatalistic yet hopeful Abraham Lincoln we have Lance Henriksen: a criminally under-rated, woefully under-used by top directors in Hollywood actor. “Terminator”, “Pumpkinhead”, “Aliens”, “The Horror Show”, “Tales From The Crypt”, “Hard Target”, “The Quick & The Dead”, “Powder”, “Millennium”, “Hellraiser:Hellworld”, “Bone Dry”, “Bring Me The Head Of Lance Henriksen”.

As the egocentric, southern patriot, actor, playboy, assassin John Wilkes Booth we have Rob Morrow from “Northern Exposure” and “Numb3ers”. He’s always solid.

As the jealous, caring, somewhat haughty Mary Lincoln we have Donna Murphy who was Picard’s romantic interest in “Star Trek The Next Generation Insurrection” and Mrs. Doc Oc in “Spiderman 2”.

As the stalwart, much loved (at least in this movie) eldest son Robert Lincoln we have Wil Wheaton who was Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek The Next Generation” and is The Bad Astronomer Phil Plait’s mancrush.

Forget the title: approximately the last eleven days of Lincoln’s life then jumps ahead twelve days to the last moments of Booth’s life with a quick follow-up of the other co=conspirators and supposed co-conspirators fates.

Even though constrained by tv movie time limits this does well with characterization.

Murphy’s Mary Lincoln has the emotionalism and fragility associated with the real woman.

Morrow’s Booth hints at the professional family rivalry (father and older brother also actors), sorrow at South’s loss, anger, arrogant confidence of an actor.

Henriksen, halfway to Lincoln with his craggy lined face and blue eyes, has a subtle, quiet toughness about him, ready to forgive the South and get back to being a United States again. He’s the Lincoln everyone sees in their head.

An almost everything-that-could-go-wrong-does-go-wrong chain of events: General Grant not going with the Lincolns to the theatre, an incompetent, drunken, fill-in for the President’s Guard that evening leads to Lincoln’s shooting as well as the attempted assassination of Secretary of State Seward and the almost attempted assassination of VP Johnson.

Watching the long night of Lincoln’s death is very dark. I recognized people, dialogue, Lincoln’s pocket contents from reports of the evening.

Downside: some bad camera work (one scene in particular is distractingly shaky). When having an actor who’s 5’10”-5’11” (depending on which website you’re reading) playing an historical figure known for his 6’4” height it might be best to never shoot him below the knees (not even in long shot). A 5”-6” height change between camera shots is disconcerting.

Over all, the film is slightly oversentimental but pays good attention to historical detail and is successful in portraying the losses of war, friend, husband, father, President and the birth of an icon.

A review of "Abraham Lincoln: A Life" by Thomas Keneally

From Amazon-

The self-made man from a log cabin, the great orator, the Emancipator, the Savior of the Union, the martyr—Lincoln’s story is at the very heart of American history. But who was he, really? In this outstanding biography, award-winning author Thomas Keneally follows Lincoln from his impoverished birth through his education and presidency. From the development of his political philosophy to his troubled family life and his actions during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is an incisive study of a turning point in our history and a revealing portrait of a pivotal figure.

My two Lincolns:

A concise, quick read; perfect for those who are curious but don’t have a lot of reading time to spare (183 pages, no pictures/illustrations).

On a personal note, I have no memory of reading of Lincoln’s “first love” Ann Rutledge until this book (excluding “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” in which I wasn’t sure the tale was a “vampire conceit” so to speak). I look forward to learning more.

Unfortunately, as I am still in the beginning of my Lincoln exploration I cannot advise on how accurate, or inaccurate, this book is.