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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.



Latest Activity

Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Tale of Ononis

The Tale of Ononis by Rob Neufeld Part 1: The Making of a Celebrity ❧  Hare Begins His Tale  Ononis was my region’s name.People now call it Never-the-same.I’ll start with the day a delivery came. The package I got was a devil’s dare,Swaddled and knotted in Swamp Bloat hairAnd bearing, in red, one word: “Beware!” Bloats are creatures from the Land of Mud Pies,Wallowing in waste with tightly closed eyesUntil fears bring tears and the bleary bloats rise.   ❧  Hare’s Colleagues  I asked my boss,…See More
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Drop Your Troubles: A Solo Storytelling Performance with Connie Regan-Blake at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

December 1, 2018 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join this internationally renowned storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she transforms a packed theater into an intimate circle of friends with old-timey charm, wisdom, and humor. We’ll also welcome the Singer of  Stories, Donna Marie Todd, who will perform her original story, “The Amazing Zicafoose Sisters.” Connie’s last two shows at BMCA have sold…See More
Nov 6
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event

Explore the Landscapes of Story and Telling at Lenoir-Rhyne Center for Graduate Studies

January 23, 2019 at 10am to February 27, 2019 at 12pm
A Storytelling Offering in Asheville, NCWednesday Mornings 10am-12pmJanuary 23 – February 27, 2019 This winter Connie is excited to offer a learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville, NC at Lenoir-Rhyne University for six story-work sessions with a weekly format that allows for skills to grow over time while encouraging a consistency in discovering, revisiting and refining your stories. During these weekly sessions participants are invited…See More
Nov 6
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Explore the Landscapes of Story & Telling at Lenoir-Rhyne Center for Graduate Studies

January 23, 2019 at 10am to February 27, 2019 at 12pm
A Storytelling Offering in Asheville, NCWednesday Mornings 10am-12pmJanuary 23 – February 27, 2019 This winter Connie is excited to offer a learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville, NC at Lenoir-Rhyne University for six story-work sessions with a weekly format that allows for skills to grow over time while encouraging a consistency in discovering, revisiting and refining your stories. During these weekly sessions participants are invited…See More
Oct 28
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event

Connie Regan-Blake presents A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 6, 2019 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling in “A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.” The event will be hosted by the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, just a short drive from Asheville nestled in the picturesque mountains surrounding the area. Call the Center for advance tickets (828) 669-0930 or order…See More
Oct 28
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event

Connie Regan-Blake's Taking Your Story to the Stage Workshop at StoryWindow Productions

April 5, 2019 to April 7, 2019
The focus of this “Taking Your Story to the Stage” 3-day workshop is on storytelling performance. Each participant is asked to come with a story that is almost “stage-ready.” Set in Connie’s home tucked in the beautiful mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, this workshop provides a supportive, affirming…See More
Oct 28
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Let’s say every word is precious

Let’s say every word is precious (Part of Living Poem) Let’s say every word is precious.Say every word is precious.Every word is precious.Every word precious.Every word.Word.--Rob Neufeld, Oct. 16, 2018See More
Oct 17
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Oct 12
Nancy Sutton replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Metamorphoses
"Poignant in so many ways!   "
Oct 3
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion


Metamorphoses (Part of Living Poem)Hear audio: Metamorphoses%20181004_0192.MP3 So Apollo committed the first rape.He’d come back from exterminating Python,The Bane of Humanity, now his arrow-victim,And stopped to mock…See More
Oct 2
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Sep 22
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

First Drumbeat

First Drumbeat(Part of Living Poem) The time has come.Call it a drum,Or a crumb,What’s left of life. I used to tell a jokeWhen my life was wide,And I was a stud,And not a dud—I knowI’m not a dud.  I’m a dude,A dad.  But everyone mustRebut the dud chargeAt summing up time. Oh yeah, the joke,A trademark one for meIn that it’s not funny. I used to say I’ll never retireFrom writingBecause if I’m ever…See More
Sep 22
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks for the prompt, Joan!  I have attached the whole work in progress as a doc at the bottom of the table of contents page:"
Sep 22
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Is there a way from this website to print everything or might you send me such a document to"
Sep 22
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan at Marion Branch McDowell County Public Library

October 24, 2018 from 4pm to 5pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be launching her new poetry collection A Neighborhood Changes (Finishing Line Press, 2018) at a book presentation and signing to be held at the McDowell County Public Library in Marion on October 24.See More
Sep 21
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"This could be interesting--thanks!  I'm at 828-505-1973 (my home business office).  And"
Sep 20

The Tale of Ononis


by Rob Neufeld


Part 1:


The Making of a Celebrity




Hare Begins His Tale



Ononis was my region’s name.

People now call it Never-the-same.

I’ll start with the day a delivery came.


The package I got was a devil’s dare,

Swaddled and knotted in Swamp Bloat hair

And bearing, in red, one word: “Beware!”


Bloats are creatures from the Land of Mud Pies,

Wallowing in waste with tightly closed eyes

Until fears bring tears and the bleary bloats rise.






Hare’s Colleagues



I asked my boss, “You know what this is?”

He just pointed to a lipstick-kiss’s

Imprint from the missive’s missus.


“You’ll need sharp scissors to cut that hair,”

Cracked my newspaper colleague and rival, Claire.

Then guess-who—me—went you-know-where.


On the “Weekly Wangle,” they called me “Sleuth.”

I saw my new story as “A Moment of Truth,”

And opened the package and found—a tooth.





Childhood Memories



My tongue shot up to a memory spot,

Feeling a hurt in a thing that was not,

But once had been in the Childhood Time Forgot.


I remembered a time, though it’s mostly a blur,

When bees spelled out sweetness yet to occur,

And moms snuffed nits from little kits’ fur.


When the sun rose up, it clicked like a clock,

And I clacked my claws on Dancing Rock.

What came next, I recall as a shock.






Memory of Invasion



The Robbers flew in from Klangenklouth,

The Forbidden City in the land to the south,

And somehow I lost a tooth from my mouth.


Everyone was changed.  Mr. Biggy Chew

Lost his ears and cried “cock-a-doodle-doo.”

I was frightened and hid from view.


When I emerged, I was a new rabbit.

I formed a get-to-the-root-of-things habit.

Introduced to the tooth of my youth, I grabbed it.


And so, like a photo bled to the border,

I crowded out the hubbub of every reporter,

And dove into the future like a rat into water.





Joe Crow Shows Up



There appeared in the door a polished crow

A slouch we knew as “Sad-Eyed Joe.”

“Joe,” I asked him, “What’s the new mojo?”


“Ah, Hare,” he replied, ruffling his torso.

“I’m the same as ever, but even more so—.

Beat, like the poet, Gregory Corso.”


“Corso—the bloke who went berserk

In his poem called, ‘Marriage,’ telling a hotel clerk,

‘I deny honeymoon!’?   “Yes, that droll jerk.”





Reality Show Offer



“But you!” Joe smirked.  “You look like a schnook!

Is that the dress code for reading a book?

I can’t sell that sad-sack, shell-shocked look.”


“But new looks,” he trumpeted, “they’re my specialty!”

And he held out his arms like a voodoo doll effigy.

“I represent the show, ‘Make Me a Celebrity’!”





The Deal’s Already Done



“Just wait a darn minute,” I carped, all kerfuffled,

“Your carnival bark and patois must be muffled.”

“The cards,” Joe crowed, “the cards have been shuffled.”


And he took out a card with a bright silver sheen

That glowed in my face with an ad on its screen:

“On May nineteenth, see Hare wipe his slate clean!”





Hare Meets his Re-maker



I started to shout, “You plan to re-do me?”

But I noticed Joe’s eyes, wide-open, yet gloomy,

And said, “Sure, let’s go, Joe, and try out the new me.”


We entered a trailer, emblazoned, “The Sky King,”

Reached through back lots and after much hiking.

“Just speak,” said a voice.  “What is to your liking?”


I admit, though I should’ve said, “an end to this ruse,”

Or a woman, or wheels, or a crack at big news,

I had no idea what I should choose.





Hare Gets Guidance



“Oh Sky King,” I said, “and I do not mock,

Seven-spice chicken would really rock.

You know, there used to be a chicken place on my block.”


A woman came in with a dish of mysteriousness

And asked, “Is this what you wish in all seriousness?”

“Okay, tell me,” I said, “what your theory is, Miss.”


“I believe,” she crooned, “that like a bolt from the blue

Fate comes in and rescues you.

If you wish to be a star, your dreams come true.”





Hare’s Debut



Then a host spoke out, “Show me the money!”

A fake wall fell and the night got sunny.

 “Welcome to the show that features a bunny!


“This is the premise: In our real-life cartoon

We’ll transform the most unlikely goon

Into a character over whom all will swoon.”


“Psst, Hare,” whispered the host, Donkey McClurks,

“When the cameras roll, do what works.

Be more than yourself.  Exaggerate quirks.”





The Show Begins



In the opening segment, titled, “Pop Goes the Hare,”

I crossed my shanks and turned in my chair,

And bared my soul to the spotlight’s glare.


Yes, it was like the talks I give now,

Except then I was drunk with the feeling of “Wow!”

And now, what I wish to say is: “Ow.”


Wikipedia notes I was the “darling of crowds!”

I scared up invasions and scoffed at clouds.

I made true confessions and lifted up shrouds.


It was frightful and funny, and, above all, frightful.

Critics called my show insightful.

My downfall came when I became most prideful.





The Downturn



My fantasies were fruits on which factions fattened.

My style was so dope, I took out a patent.

Then, reality hit.  My ratings flattened.


My network concocted a viral news contest

And invited dark knights and a faux Pocahontas,

And amateurs, and hamsters, and my own orthodontist!


I must say, the orthodontist I did not mind

For it was on me that his flashlight shined

When he said, “From Hare’s mouth, I can see his behind!”




People Going Ape



Some of my challengers made my teeth grind.

It‘s hard to believe in humankind

When people go ape over absence of mind.


My apologies to apes.  I’ve known a few,

And I’ve never seen an ape go ape, except once on “The View,”

When an ape said, “I’m human,” and a human claimed, “Me, too.”





Nettie Boles



So, now let me tell you about a certain show

When a hamster was indeed the next chump to go

Up against me in a round of “‘T’ain’t So.”


The hamster, named Nettie, reported a puma

Who victimized starlets, according to rumor.

Networks went hot; and sour, my humor.


After a week of buzz about Nettie’s creep,

I awakened at 5, when most folks sleep,

And broadcast my message after a beep-beep-beep.


“Nettie Boles,” I red-baited, “has sold us lies.

In truth, she’s a temptress from a rat’s nest of spies

An unsheathed dagger lies behind her dark eyes.


“To learn more about ‘Nettie and the Rat Threat’

And how sex can be used for societal upset,

Go to my website at PopGoestheHare dot net.”





Hare Falls in Love



Nettie’s tales had scored big, but not as big as

My smears against her.  Police news nabs

Nightly local views, but loses to paranoia’s pizzazz.


The next show, I repented.  “Let me tell you,” I coughed,

“Something strange happened when I last signed off.

My mind had gone light as my heart had gone soft.


“Nettie’d swayed offstage with a ‘You first’ glide

And I saw something in her I’d previously not spied

And wondered what secrets she really did hide.


“She knew a truth about me.  That was the snare.

And now, divesting myself of my market share,

I present: Declawed Fraud, formerly known as Hare.”




Hare’s Love Poem



Nettie’s shoulders spread wide as her mother’s had

Before death’s weight had laid her in her bed.

Now, Nettie mothers her brothers in her mother’s stead.


Nettie’s callouses show where she’d bled

Fingering guitars.  Her palms bulge baking bread.

To the pillow of her paunch, I submit my bowed head.


But of all Nettie’s charms, the greatest of all

Is her ability to switch roles at a moment’s call,

Shed clothes, and recast the world with her foot-fall.



Hare Can’t Escape Show Biz



I thought I was going to turn a new leaf

And give up the job of a dignity thief.

But my ratings graph spiked, as did Nettie’s grief.


I tried being witless, rancid, perverse.

I shouted at flowers, I pimped my hearse.

I strangled, entangled in a dangling curse.





Nettie Saves the Day



One night, as my tears pooled into a puddle,

I asked my dear self, “Dear Self, what’ll

Become of you?”—and who came to clean my butt of scuttle,


But Nettie the hamster!  She knows what’s true.

She’d seen through my guise and my eyes into

The me that I was when I’d noticed her, too.






Hare Visits Hamster Land



The cave was dark where the hamsters dwelled.

“Hello!—hello anybody!” I yelled.

A tear filled my eye from a sharpness I smelled.


Then I felt the embrace of a whole hamster nation.

I can’t describe to you the exhilaration

Of becoming the object of such adulation.


Did the hamsters know I’d pointed the finger

At their den of dissidents, and had been the bell-ringer

For a raid?  I thought it best I not linger.


But then old Uncle Ham, with the droopy lip,

Pulled a squeeze bag from a belt on his hip

And held it up and said, “Son, have a drip!”





A Hamster Party



The whole crowd dipped into a swirling skip.

Blokes told jokes.  But at the tip

Of my perception, I did detect a leaky ship.


“Hey, get a grip!” said a snatcher of my wrist,

“Did you hear the tale about the frog that got kissed?

He’s now on a royal sex offender list!”





After the Party



After the party, I met Net’s brother, Stu,

Who flicked a lighter, saying, “Here’s a clue

To the igniting we’re going to use you to do.


“First day in Hamstertown,” I wrote in my diary,

“I’ve adopted the slump of a has-been retiree.

Still, I’d kill for the thrill to turn dull to fiery.”


Next day, a newscast blared out at the club,

“Hare’s Defection Confirms Long Ties to the Scrub!”

I was accused of having used a worm’s way to rub.





Faded Celebrity



But from TV’s long reach I was not yet released.

An agent had me cast in the role of a priest

In a reality show titled, “Flocks Being Fleeced.”


“Show me the bunny!” is what Ham liked to jest

Introducing me to a just-arrived guest.

“Behold the vestige of a non-virile pest.”





Saving My Reputation



Nettie stuck by me and kept me calm

By tracing a heart shape in my palm

When Chauncey, a cousin, dropped his bomb.


“Spawn!” Chauncey spat, and it gave me a fright,

Triggering my button of fight-or-flight.

But I filled my lungs, stood firm, and held tight.


“See here!” I said, as if Chauncey were Crow,

“There are some alleys down which I won’t go,

Though one can’t go lower than a reality show.


“But I’m not the enemy.  The world’s out-of-joint.

My point has been that my points have no point.

If you seek pure evil, my sins disappoint.”




Entertaining Children



From a cushion set up in the pups’ play-space

I told children’s stories for twenty-five straight days.

Including the tale, “The Man with the Plate Face.”


Have you heard of my allegorical episode?

On The Day of No Dinner, Plate comes to a crossroad

And sees a nutcracker clacking madly in Morse code.


Tap-clap-clap, tap-clap, tap-tap, clap,

Which spells, “Wait!”  Plate dismisses this claptrap,

Opens his backpack, and unfolds his map flap.


“I’ll tell you exactly where I intend to go,”

Plate blurts—“to Master’s Castle!”   And having said so,

He pierces his future with the tip of his toe.








With Plate’s first step in the Land to the Left,

He discovers his side-bag has lost all its heft,

And knows, with that absence, he’s the victim of theft.







The Hand Rail



Reaching for support as his rubbery legs fail,

Plate grabs a tree limb hanging over the trail.

And detects in its bumps a message in braille.


“Keep heart,” the tree says, as it holds Plate’s grip.

“Ahead will be frights that will make your mind skip,

And moments as sweet as a dewdrop’s drip.”






Scary Encounter



Oh!  What is that flash that Plate sees in the shade?

Is it light reflecting off a knife blade?

Yes, it’s John the Knife stepping into the glade.


“Hold off, Sir Knife!” Plate cries out in defense.

He’d heard of Knife’s flight from the Home of the Gents,

And read news that Knife nursed spiteful intents.


“People think,” Knife says, “I’m bad, but I ain’t.

I’ve been labeled a slasher.  That’s my complaint.

I’m unfit for my work.  Blood makes me faint!”  







Plate says to Knife, “Knife, let’s make a deal.

We’ll walk to Lord’s Castle, and then we’ll both steal

Inside and stage an appeal at the Master’s next meal.”





Story Interrupted



In a dreamlike way, Plate’s cause will enfold

Not only Knife, but Spoon, Fork, and Bowl

In a plot to determine what fate dinner shall hold.


Day after day, I rolled out this cartoon.

Once, I Mother-Goosed it, and ran about with a spoon.

The pups squealed, “When’s the Meal?”  Quoth I, “Eftsoon!”


But fate kept no date with Plate and his passel.

I never got to tell what befell at the Castle,

For I was summoned to the lord to whom I was vassal.





For Whom the Bell Tolls



“Hare!” Ham greeted me, hanging his phone up,

“Nettie vanished yesterday, and still hasn’t shown up!

I need you to switch your audience to grown-up.”


Nettie in trouble?   My mind flashed forward fast.

Must I now break my vow to never again broadcast

News as I’d spewed in my now much-abhorred past?


Ham showed me a text that popped up on his cell.

No number was listed next to the bell,

But the text read: Don’t believe the lies they tell.


Thus, granted a license for verbal ruthlessness,

I hung out my plaque in the Kingdom of Truthlessness.

Now let the world feel the bite of toothlessness!




Going Underground



The hamster clan clamored in a state of upheaval.

Chauncey and Stu had gone off to fight evil,

And fell into a cult, and required retrieval.


Nettie’s descent had been a sisterly mission.

My course was similarly beyond question,

Though it skewed toward Stu’s conspiracy suggestion.


Like Plate and his crew, Chauncey and Stu

Had embarked on a path with no endgame in view.

But with these two, I promise you a follow-through.


Here’s what will come with the story’s renewal:

I’ll learn though Stu’s dangerous, he’s not a fool,

And I’m, apparently, a tool, and end up working for a ghoul.


What do ghouls represent?  Why, the new story’s cast:

Demons with masks, saviors, critics, fixations,

And troubling figures from my undead past.


I ‘m wondering if I should wait, as the storyteller,

Until Part 3 to marry Nettie, my Dulcinella.

Hmm.  Going underground now.  Contact your bookseller.



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