understanding

Free form poetry.

Posted on

Rope

It hangs there, the knot fashioned neatly, calling me

like my mother did when I was out past sunset

running with the fellas…even a few girls.

We played in the street, living free then. But those days are gone.

Forever.

Each shift, negative contact, complaint, or

snide comment from those I serve

draws each loop tighter, choking away what little air that remains.

I cannot be sure anyone would bother to cut me down.

A lone truth that stings.

What is it that brings me back each day?

Much to live for, sure, but for the others, not me.

Is that really true?

Blasts from my past, from lives I watched expire,

swing the rope back and forth, gently at first.

An evil grin

on my weathered face

grows impatient…

hoping the wooden beam

the rope is affixed to

cannot support my weight.

–C.L.Swinney (c) 2017

Free form poetry.

Posted on

Policing a Community

 

A salty policeman struggles to lift his hand

to the hand of a stranger.

Community meetings force him

from the comfort of a cruiser.

He walks along an uneven path

through downtown streets

leaving muddy boot prints,

each one crushing his aspirations.

Stress is part of the deal, but where trust once existed,

media has stripped completely away.

The pride once gained by risking our lives for strangers,

is gone. “Stranger” never meant what it does today,

like it did back in the day.

Back when “neighborhood” meant something.

Back when you didn’t ask police to raise your kid,

or scare them straight because they embarrassed you in public.

Back when civil disputes were handled by adults,

when simple things wouldn’t tear at the very foundation

of our society.

Yes, we’re wired for scary things.

Yes, we hunt active shooters

and run toward the gunfire… the evil you pretend

does not exist, that which looms in the back of your mind daily.

Why I risk everything for people who want me dead

is my own mystery. One for me to work out on my own.

My sisters and brothers will continue to protect the innocent,

enforce antiquated laws, and do what we can to crush

the stereotypes.

So we’re far from simple nuts and bolts,

robotic if you will. Strip away the badge and the gun.

Beneath the pain and suffering is a man or woman,

same as you. Nothing too fancy.

Beneath a ballistic vest and forty-pounds of accoutrements

we want the same thing, and we’re prepared to make

the ultimate sacrifice to obtain or provide it.

-C.L.Swinney (c) 2017

Losing Bella and Light-Ale Bottling.

Posted on Updated on

Hey folks. Been tied up at work and family stuff so I slipped on posting the latest blog.

Sadly, we had to put Bella, the greatest dog we’ve ever had, down. She had terminal lung cancer and it seemed like she was telling us with her face that she was ready. But we weren’t. It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make. We miss her dearly. If I ever get any good at making beer, the first one will be named after her.

 

img_4516“Bella-dog.” aka, “Bellisimo.”

 

 

Alas, it was time to take baby steps forward. The following is my recent home bottling of a super light ale with a slight hop aroma. Enjoy. I’ll post back on how it tasted. Out of the fermenter, it was superb.

PREP:

CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. If you are home bottling and brewing and you don’t get into the habit of cleaning and sanitizing your process, from start to finish, you are killing the opportunity to create superior beer. DON’T BE LAZY. PBW is the best cleaner I’ve used. Once you clean the bottles, tubing, caps, bottling wand, and everything that is involved in this process, it’s time to bottle.

img_4666

 

A shot of the pre-bottling CHAOS:

img_4668

 

BOTTLING:

I like to set my bottles aside. If I’ve made some adjustments with carbonation tablets, i’ll keep the bottles separated. For example, the bottles with four tabs on the left and the bottles with three tabs on the right. Hook up your tubing, remove the air lock and lid, and insert the bottling wand into the tubing leading from your bottling/fermentation bucket.

If you aren’t giddy at the sight of the tubing charged with beer, well, I don’t know what to tell you!

Most bottling wands have a built-in mechanism that will release beer once depressed (or pushed down on the bottom of the bottle). Once the bottle begins to fill, it will (obviously) rise. As the beer makes it to the top, you stop. Once you remove the wand, it leaves some room in the neck for the carbonation process. THIS IS A GOOD THING. If you spill some beer while bottling, I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DO NOT LICK IT OFF THE FLOOR>>Don’t ask….

You’ll get to the bottom of your bucket and the entrance point of the spigot. There is usually a good amount of beer left lying above the trub. Gently pull the bucket toward you and allow the clean beer to fall into the opening of the spigot. This beer will fill the tubing and wand and you can normally get 2-3 more bottles before the yucky stuff. The picture below shows nearing the bottom, pulling the bucket toward you to get more of the beer, and then the layer of trub, aka “yucky stuff.” DOING ALL OF THIS WITH TWO HANDS IS SILLY, BUT WHAT OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE? I’ve spilled some beer trying to manage all of this, but it’s kind of funny and a challenge, so no worries.

 

CAPPING:

*NOTE* Make sure your caps are clean before capping the bottles.

There’s plenty of different options on the market, but I use a very basic bottle cap press that features a magnet to hold the cap in place. Pressing a cap on a bottle sometimes feels like the bottle or capping device are going to break. They likely won’t. Just use some elbow grease and get the darn caps on. Once that’s over, place them in the cardboard bottle box or on the counter and keep them out at room temperature for at least a week, maybe two. After that process is over, called “bottle conditioning,” throw those bad boys into the refrigerator. In two weeks, start “sampling” bottles. Pour and enjoy.

 

I hope this was informative and helps with your journey into home brewing. Shoot me an email or comment if you have any questions.

Remember to listen to people who care about you enough to speak to you.

-Chris

 

Free form poetry.

Posted on

The Shallows

I can’t turn away, let my eyes drift with the sea.

The beauty, her complex levels,

her almost letting go completely,

yet close enough to be rescued pulls me deeper.

In the water, on land, wherever my weary heart travels,

she is there. Bubbles mingle with timeless boulders,

intertwined like new lovers, drawing me into the current.

My heart, a ship searching for land, and comfort,

somewhere to throw an anchor, somewhere to finally settle down,

swells. Today, right now, I’ve finally found the courage

to tell her how I feel.

(c) C. L. Swinney 2016

From my upcoming chap-book: Gloves Come Off

Posted on

Real Talk

 

Your tainted mouth kills

my ears, my heart, my weary

soul and words have failed.

(c) C. L. Swinney 2016

He’s there when you look away.

Posted on Updated on

He’s There When You Look Away

 

In a pool of his own urine he sleeps,

homeless, scared, and lacking food or shelter.

Then along comes the law, this sight he weeps.

People turn away, all helter-skelter,

while the rest of us throw most of our scraps

away, cast long and menacing sharp glares.

For what? What does your heart see as he naps?

Your soul and heart should burn wild like flares.

Pretending he is not there, no answer,

but strife. Remember he is still a man.

Most fought to protect and came home with cancer.

Some fraud, not he, looking for an open hand

and I’ll be damned if I didn’t get involved

while you sit there…a conscious un-evolved.

(c) C.L.Swinney 2016

free form poetry

Posted on

Policing a Community

A salty policeman struggles to hold a

stranger’s hand. Spirited skateboard park

meetings force him from the comfort

of a cruiser along an uneven path through

downtown streets- wearing muddy boots

that crush his aspirations. They can

manage the stress, but where trust once

existed media stripped completely away. Recall

when police risked their lives for “strangers,” yet

you knew them and they knew you, back when the

word “neighborhood” held meaning. You’d call us

during an emergency and wouldn’t dare to ask

me to raise your kids or scare them straight for you.

Civil disputes between childish adults tear

at the very foundation of our society.

Yes, we’re wired for scary things: to

hunt active shooters, protect the innocent,

and enforce the law- no matter how antique.

But, integration hoping to crush robots lies

in another galaxy. Handle your human problems

and we’ll chase then confront evil, head-on,

so you can pretend it does not exist.