A thread of continuity: the good old days and counter value…

As I was considering the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, I was reminded about another phase in my life when I worked at GE Power Generation in Schenectady, NY after graduating from college.

It was a short lived phase due to the slowing economy of the early 1990’s, the industry trend away from steam turbines toward gas turbines and my utterly directionless early adulthood.

At that time, the largest project being handled by PowerGen was the supply of massive steam turbines for use by KEPCO, the Korea Electrical Power Corporation. As I recall, PowerGen was supplying multiple units across several projects in South Korea during that time.

We in the Communications and Distribution arm were working on editing, coordinating and assembling the massive, multi-volume operations manuals required to safely and efficiently run these units. Then the layoffs came.

I drifted away from technical writing altogether. A story for another time perhaps, but which brings us to today and the term countervalue (my introduction to this term is proof there is educational opportunity on Twitter if you are careful with your Follows.)

Countervalue, for unknowing civilians like myself, is the targeting of non-military assets (which do not pose a direct military risk) during the course of war and countervalue speaks to the steam turbines GE PowerGen supplied back in the 90’s and which I participated in an exceedingly small, tangential fashion because these units are now likely targets of North Korea (DPRK.)

Targets since they represent electrical generation capacity of the DPRK’s enemy which would be important to disrupt during the course of any war, but also because many of these steam turbines were used in conjunction with nuclear reactors, thus exponentially increasing their destructive and disruptive ability.

According to their website, KEPCO indicates that they are currently operating 25 reactor units in South Korea. Targeting these facilities with traditional weapons is within the demonstrated capabilities of the DPRK.

Simply stated, the DPRK does not need to launch nuclear weapons to initiate a nuclear war. Well targeted standard missiles will suffice.

It is one strange life to think that the work of twenty something Steven Kramer sits on the shelf of a DPRK target.

Peace my babies.


Four for Sixteen


Four for Sixteen is our little record of the last month rattling around the East End spieling the deal.  Plenty of Poetry Month deliciousness with more than a few slices of requisite mind attic madness.  Only $6.00 US, including shipping.  More than a Big Mac sure, but better for you and it’s gnome approved.

Disclaimers: Gnomes not included in purchase price.  No gnomes were harmed in the promotion of this chapbook.

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In honor of the resurrection (or Franken-birth, customer choice) of the mind attic: a poem.

In Sandy’s shadow: one for Earl Miller

I was thinking on
the ride home from
work on Friday about
the day after Superstorm
Sandy and the giant
oak tree felled across
the complete, wide breadth
of Northville Turnpike by her
stiff tropical gale

A diligent crew was
slicing the felled
monster into man or
machine manageable

A diligent crew who (despite
their best efforts and with
equipment far
superior to the old
blue Homelites we employed
in the tired woodlot up off
Hillman Road) managed
to repeatedly bind and stall their
new fangled, high tech
high horsepower Swedish saws in
the deciduous beast’s tangled,
pinched and torqued limbs.
Son of a bitch!

In that moment of fleeting
remembrance across four and
fifteen and thirty five years, I
missed you more
than silence.

I had no one to share an advisory whisper
gained through our years of harvesting felled
hardwoods for the furnace:

“I don’t think I would cut that limb…” an advisory
cut abruptly short, proven fact as the high powered, high
tech Swedish saw bound and stalled in another tangled,
pinched, torqued limb. Son of a bitch!

In that moment of fleeting
remembrance across four and
fifteen and thirty five years, I
missed you more
than silence.

I had no one to share a knowing, chuckling
conclusion, “I’m surprised these guys know which end
of them fancy Swedish saws is for holdin’ and which
end is for cuttin’”

William Bennett

See the arrogant middle aged
punk verbally maim
some poor
pretty faced
his network’s
to disseminate
premature inaccurate
election prophecies.

Have I not
seen you in the
grocery store
shouting down
a teenage
part time
no benefits
check out
clerk over
the price of
canned tuna?

it definitely
was you…
you had
twelve items
in the ten item
express lane.

I must write a Whitmanic poem one day…

I am long shimmering lonesome asphalt

I am outhouses

I am hand-me-downs

I am no electricity need

I am apple tree headstones

I am dirt and gravel and oil…Tha Govner say no sense paving roads to poverty

I am abandoned bird stained churches

I am insanity prowling the family periphery

I am people whose only vice was co-mingling with relatives

I am hillbilly by birth, though we have attempted a family wide disinformation denial campaign for 50 years

I am secrets…destructive, dark and unspoken

I am Dickies green and navy blue work clothes…

I am the disenfranchised…huddling with a passive angry need and properly lubricated weaponry

I am a blues singer wailing perfect word ointments

I am America’s minorities…seething…angry…waiting and denying perfection

I am Poverty, I give a rat’s ass about your skin color…I dine on suffering

I am a man what worked all his life…and left nothing but ghosts of sweat, tears, blood and family

I am a man that sings, writes, paints… history will remember me…and my people

Until fire renders thee pride ash.

I am humility, sweet and crucified.

We are all seven steps from infinity

Seven steps from speeding accidental bus bumper

Seven steps from saving twelve step subjugation

Seven steps from the end of the pier and high tide

Seven steps from a salving embrace

Seven steps seems like a lot

Seven steps is infinitesimal

Seven steps from a fleeting perpendicular relationship with the railroad tracks

Seven steps from a family member asking…are you ok?

Seven steps from saving your friend a seat in Hell’s waiting room

Seven steps from a friend calling at just the right time

Seven steps from a razor slicing bloody virgin wrist hymens

Seven steps from carving an all too perfect roast on Sunday

Seven steps one way
seven steps the other
fourteen chances
to remain and
enjoy the sun rising
promise over Montauk.

The old wash woman wants to nosey on in

Who are they?

Their car has New Jersey plates.

I see him walking the streets during the day smoking a cigar. Shouldn’t he
be working?

Their horrible over the front door sign reads, “Bite me.”

I saw them both sitting on the cemetery wall the other day kissing. Have
they no respect for the dead?

She mows the lawn and plays hopscotch.

I saw their empty car the other day parked in the cemetery. I fear what
they might be doing on that hallowed ground.

They have a daughter who never seems to attend school. Perhaps I should
call the school.

He was sitting in the cemetery reading de Sade. Blasphemy!

Who are they?

Why are they here?

And, why they won’t return my friendly waves?

Views on Pain and Healing

New lines drawn in history

Deciding on new
poems for a new

She says.
I have plenty,
but they seem
dated since.

I have no new
slices of
or slapstick.

I never believed
“This event has
changed everything”
was anything
above media
I sat down
there weren’t
any voices.

One small stride toward normalcy

For weeks.
now over
a month
a bizarre
silence has settled
over this place.

Saturday night
at a sporting
I saw a crack,
one slowly
like chick beak
enamel shell
and real
New Yorkers

We booed
the halftime