A Motel Bar

A Motel Bar

This poem was published in the Summer edition of The Lincoln Underground, a literary magazine out of Lincoln, NE. They have have used some of my words and pictures during the past year, and this is the latest. Some of you may have seen this before, but now it has gone out to a larger audience.

A Motel Bar

It was Friday night.
Cocktail hour, and they came in.
Two people no one knew.

Him, in jeans, light jacket, hoodie and baseball cap.
Her, in jeans, light jacket and shoulder length light brown hair.
They took chairs at the bar and ordered.

She wore no makeup. Plain, but attractive. Older
He was bearded, like so many men today.
They liked each other. Anyone could tell.

Looking at each other, they spoke to none but the bartender.
Drinks came. They talked to each other, long lost friends.
She had come from far away, and he wasn’t from here either.

They sipped their whiskey cokes in low ball glasses.
Stroked each other’s hands, smiled, and laughed a lot.
Her phone would come out, but only for a moment.

Overheard, “It was my son,” she told him.
He smiled and put his arm on her shoulder.
She looked down and held his hand, a hand that knew wrenches.

I imagined they spent the weekend as lovers do,
When time is short, and they have each other 
If only for the moment.

On Tuesday, they came in again.
They took chairs, this time close by. The bar was more crowded.
The bartender knew what they would order and their drinks appeared.

Her back was to me, but I could tell, this was their last night.
She looked at her phone once, and after she laid it down,
She hugged him, and they both took sips from their low ball glasses.

I sat there just stealing a glance, not wanting to intrude.
They were lovers, and I was an invisible guy in a bar,
Knowing I would never see either of them again.

When she told him her flight number for the next day.
She leaned in close to him, and the hand that knew wrenches,
Slowly stroked her back, and she leaned into his shoulder.

Feeling like an intruder, I paid my tab and left.
Walking to my car, I thought about these two people I didn’t know,
Who came into the motel bar I frequent, and what tomorrow would bring.

Once home, alone, wine in hand, I wondered why it mattered to me,
Then I realized it was because I was envious,
Of what they had, if only for a moment,
In a motel bar.

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Where The Popsicles Are

I wrote this a long time ago, or so it seems. I ran across it the other night while wandering through my mind, and sipping on a glass of Cabernet. I remembered why I liked it then, and like it now.

When We Danced

We danced,
And the music was you.

The rhythms
Moved through your heart,
And I could feel it in your hands.

When it was slow,
I could feel it in your body when we moved as one,
As in a dream with no end.

The dance floor is deserted now.
The dream is shattered,
And the band plays no more.

But, when we danced,
There was the love and the magic,

And the music that was you.

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Where The Popsicles Are-164

Bob Kallberg:

Joanie Wigen

Joanie Wigen

I couldn’t let this date pass by without saying something, and not being sure what I should say, I just looked at what I had said before, and thought that was good enough. So, here it is again.

Originally posted on The Chocolates of My Mind:

May 10th.

Birthdays count years.
They are the markers we use
To measure the time of our lives.

From the first to the last,
They tell the world a person was,
And how long they were.

It’s Joanie’s birthday today.
That day that marks her time
From the first to the last.

No calendar reminds me,
No notes remind me.
I just know.

Birthdays tell the world a person was,
But they don’t tell why a person mattered.
That’s a job for the people they touched.

Tonight, on your birthday,
I will be alone, but not totally.
I will have a Martini and remember, why you mattered.

Our feline friends will get treats,
They won’t know why, or wonder,
But I will tell them, “We’re having a birthday party.”

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What Those Legislators Really Mean.

The end of another legislative session is near, and the debates are getting hotter and heavier. If you have been up on “The Hill” at all this session you might have wondered how to make sense of what is being said on the floor of the House and Senate.

The oratory, speechifying and pontificating that goes on during a legislative debate can be bewildering to even veteran observers, and so you can understand how the first time visitor to the House or Senate chambers can be bemused and confused.

With that in mind, and in the interest of making plain some of the phrases uttered by the people we elect to send to the Capitol to either protect our rights, or restrict them, what follows is a glossary of terms which might be helpful in understanding the debate on your next visit to the Legislature.

You will often hear members say, “This is a simple bill.” This means that the bill is not simple, hardly anyone has read it, and those who have aren’t sure what is in it, and you will have to trust the presenter on this one.

“I don’t want to belabor the point,” is a statement which precedes a point that is about to be belabored.

“There is no fiscal note on this bill.” This means we don’t know how much this sucker is going to cost, or who is going to pay for it, but we should pass it anyway and let the Senate kill it.

“My remarks will be brief.” When you hear this phrase, go to the coffee shop, the bathroom,  take a nap or write a letter to an old friend knowing that when you come back the speaker will be still talking.

“I wasn’t going to get up on this bill,” usually means, “I wasn’t going to get up on this bill until I heard the idiotic statements from the previous speakers, and it’s obvious they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

“I’ve had a lot of mail on this one.” This means the speaker had two letters urging a no vote and one urging a yes vote, so the speaker is going to go with the majority.

“This tax is unfair.” This means the speaker might end up having to pay this tax, and we all know that the only fair tax is the one the other guy has to pay.

“This is a housekeeping bill.” This statement means, “A vote for this bill will have a lot to do with keeping us all in the House.” This also applies when heard Senate debates.

You will also hear a lot of submitting during legislative debates. “I submit,” is a term often heard being used by lawyers on TV shows in arguments before juries, and has been adopted by many legislators. They think it makes them sound like they know what the hell they’re talking about.

Then there’s the phrase, “It is incumbent upon us,” usually uttered by an incumbent, and is followed by some statement urging a course of action the incumbency dictates.

Now then, some legislators can be really creative, so don’t be surprised if on your next trip to the legislature you hear one of them using many of these phrases in a single speech on the House or Senate floor, such as, “Ladies and gentlemen of the House, I will not belabor the point, but I submit that it is incumbent upon us to act responsibly and  vote for this simple housekeeping bill, especially if we are remain incumbents, which I further submit it is incumbent upon us to remain.”

Now you know what they really mean.

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Where The Popsicles Are-155

Bob Kallberg:

On Wednesday, April 9, 2008, on a hospital bed, in the living room in our house at 1205 N. Mandan St., at about 9:25 P.M., as I held her hand, my wife, my lover and best friend, Joanie Wigen breathed her last, while Bailey and Brandy stood silently by, not knowing what was happening, but knowing that their friend was in trouble.

Every year, at this time, the melancholy associated with that night invades, and won’t let go until I do something, say something or write something. As I read the epilogue again, I thought I need say nothing more, but I will add just a few words.

On this anniversary, I decided to repost the epilogue to the Where The Popsicles Are, to help me escape the melancholy.

This was first posted in February 15, 2014 when I finally finished the first draft of Joanie’s story. It kind of sums up why I wrote what I wrote, and what it meant to me and where I hope it goes in the future.

Where it goes in the future, is still a work in progress as I try to figure out how to marshall the resources necessary to get in some form that will be worthy of consideration for publication. I will keep you posted.

Originally posted on The Chocolates of My Mind:


“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Joanie & MuffinJoanie and Muffin

Well, there you have it. “Where The Popsicles Are” has come to an end. I tried to heed the King’s advice to the White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,‘ but I remain surprised that it took me this long, or that the story ended up being this long.

The first post of this narrative was on Valentine’s Day of February, 2013, so it has taken me a full year, and upwards of 150-thousand words to get to this point. As a journalist who wrote for TV and radio news, and newspapers, I have never written this much on any given subject in my life.

I suppose I could blame Joanie, for it was her suggestion a couple of years before she died that I write some columns on…

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