The First Clue

the first clue


Allergic to Peanuts

(In conjunction with the Toronto Writers Collective I recently attended a writing workshop facilitation seminar. Included in the instruction of the Amherst Writers and Artists Method was the opportunity for each of the potential facilitators to facilitate two faux workshops each. This meant a lot of writing took place over the weekend as the faux workshops were conducted as though they were real with each of us participating by writing for the prompt provided by the facilitator and reading it back to the group. One particular prompt really stuck out to me. It involved some mint tea leaves in a brown paper bag. We were not told what it was in the bag, we were instructed to smell the contents and write what the scent inspires. I think that this was an ingenious prompt as so much of the subconscious is rooted in the sense of smell. A scent can make us recall powerful memories with just a whiff. Now I will be honest, no profound memories stirred within me but I would like to share what I wrote in that five minute span.)


Allergic to Peanuts


Peppermint Patty had an upset stomach from eating too many peanuts. Lucy had warned beforehand, but charged a nickel for the advice. Charlie told her to drink some tea, not the brown tea, something herbal and it would help soothe her stomach. So Patty picked a few sprigs of mint that had overtaken the garden and infested the lawn like dandelions. She returned home and brewed the leaves she had gathered and she let it steep while she listened to Schroeder playing Bach on his baby baby grand. She had forgotten all about her tea and her stomach ache as she reminisced about the time she and Snoopy danced at Woodstock while Jimi Hendrix jammed the Star Spangled Banner. Patty snapped out of her reverie remembering her tea, not the brown tea, the mint tea she had made to soothe her stomach. As she sipped her tea she swore to Schultz she would never have anything to do with peanuts ever again.


T J Therien


Ella In Cinders



And Ella died of the black lung

She was quietly cremated

No eulogy written or read

No tabernacle choir sung

Life and love was over-rated

And have no bearing on the dead

Squabbling step-sisters tied their tongues

Her step-mother had to be sedated

When Prince Charming in haste re-wed

He gave his new wife the pearls strung

On nuptial bed desecrated

By one eyed monster with purple head

Cinders and ashes had been collected

Placed on the mantle and neglected


T J Therien


Behind the Laughter



He nods and he smiles, his sword and shield

The helm’s visor kept his hurts concealed

Ink-vine scars and wounds that never healed

Were among the things he never revealed

Navigating stormy seas even-keeled


He did not bend, or scrape and never kneeled

Nor did he cry when his Fate was sealed

Stayed he his fears, his nerves he steeled

He nods and he smiles


Backroom cronies, souls wheeled and dealed

While crosses bloom in Flanders’s Field

And the heart had been mined to maximum yield

Tapping the ribs of the glockenspiel

Sad music played, to Higher Power appealed

He nods and he smiles


T J Therien