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Blue Collar Prose

A Word from the Author

This compilation represents things the common man experiences, endures in life-sometimes with triumph and sometimes by defeat-not condoning but documenting the human condition at the middle class.

This is a healthy expression borne of sorrow as an emollient for wounds; and a celebration of unadulterated individualism and the renewing of the human spirit; allowing for healing.

I have been striving to have the bravery, ingenuity and a heart of faith to succeed. From the outlook of an ever-learning expression of life’s profound lessons-attendant with the emotions of love, hate, fear, pride, jealousy and sorrow (conscious of loss), yet with faith to triumph.

Those conditions or states of mind include but are not limited to: love, pride, jealousy, hate, bravery, ingenuity, skill, and profound heartache, to name a few.

Karen Harwood

Dedication Page

The following people are mentioned because they are important or infamous in my life and deserve mention:

The Great God of heaven and earth and Jesus

My dad who is written about and to in “The Shadow of a Man” My siblings

Friends and colleagues

Cliff T. who encouraged my writing

And Nancy Ricky

My children

My beautiful grandchildren (all) Cliff P. who inspired “Always” Bud (There is a Place)

Special thanks to Salt Lake City Public Library Staff without which this would not be possible.

Alan, Gwen, Dylan, Jennifer, Jim, and Matt


By Karen Harwood

You said ‘always’

But it isn’t yours to give

Nor is it mine

Or I would take my precious


And times

And people

And pets

And place them


In that safe-haven



‘Always’ is elusive

Because that old enemy


Is a cheater of all

It puts lines on faces

And openly places


Where ‘Always’

Should be

Change makes



Forcing growth

But ‘Always’

Can always

Live in our minds

You are in mine.

August 1, 2012

Boxed up

By Karen Harwood

Boxed up

Boxed in

Release me from this box I’m in

You pigeoned me early

That hole you caress

I don’t fit your abscessed view

Of where I go

Strangling the difference

Instead of letting it flow

You stifle you smother

I have my own cover

But let in the light

I won’t be mangled for your selfish comfort

Because you can’t know

Those holes that you cherish

Will cause me to perish

Prisoner of thought chains

Those you’ve crocheted

By foolish psychology

Hard to break

Those steel mental chains

You’ve allowed yourself

The only creating you do

I am free from that mental zoo

Differences bring

Fresh ideas

Creative plans

Salting the bread of reality

A new idea

A new plan

To think something new

Is good for you

And prosperity

April 18, 2012

Boys to Men

By Karen Harwood

Run and jump

Make a thump

Faster, Harder, Higher

Goes the Big Kite Flyer

Boys who run and kick and

Never tire

Grow into men

So good the squire


With curls

Bountifully piled

Dutifully smiled

And coy

Enough to catch

A boy

Away from that

Favorite toy

But when they are men

The toys are big

The prices huge

Enough to scare old Mr. Scrooge

The toys they love

May lose their rank

As dollars deepen in the bank

The girls so protected

Now bunched and sank

Like baseball cards

Inspected, traded, and collected.



By Karen Harwood

Sick of hearing

That’s in the past

Nay it’s still with me

If you could so easily release

All the harm

All the hurt

And discredit

If you could replace it

If you could even clean it

Or repair what lingers

Remove despair

Whispers of hope


Hints of laughter


Scrub up

Scrub out

The Past!

March 2, 2015

Compact Love

By Karen Harwood

Fold up the day

Put your gear away

It’s all been fun

To be the one

And same for me

We laughed with glee

We poke fun on every run

Rules exist

No room for twist

Nor would we want to

The only ride


Is assigned

When we’re done

Close up the fun

We can’t hug

Nor cuddle so

The shift of sun brings forth

“We’re done”

Wrap up the day

Store gear away

And with it all

Our compact love

Compact love



Compact love.

April 19, 2012


By Karen Harwood



What can we do?

You kids don’t agree

Be selfish

Be mean

What used to be clean

What used to be just

Has turned dirty

Has gone to rust

America Sublime

Was ours all the time

Who came in?

Who can we trust?

No one

It seems

Clearly can see

What’s happened to you,

And him

And me?

We lost our way

Let everyone have their say

Even tho’ wrong

We’ve said right

And when it’s right

We say nay-everyday

It’s upside down and right side wrong

No one will go against the throng

No veteran dead

Could clear his head

Should he awake and ponder our fate

There’s overmuch pride

But it’s on the wrong side

Where is the shame

When the world dirties our name?

America scrub off the grime

There still might be time

If we could just

Get on our knees

And only God please

This scrambled mess

He’d change and thus bless

The tradition we had

To go back we’d be glad

Instead we’ll be spanked

For stooping so low

For letting what’s good

So easily go.

October 17, 2013

Dark Cave

By Karen Harwood

A cold wind’s blow’n

The cattle are low’n

The cold wind’s blow’n

‘Round my loneliness

‘It’s seemingly simple’ to cover its face

To block and to dodge it

Whatever it takes

The quiet invites it

It partners with sound

The late train howlin’

No lonelier sound

‘The cold wind blowin’

The sound of ‘Taps’

Blown for a vet

Unable to hear

Unable to see

The folded flag

On the widow’s knee.

April 20, 2013

Day Spark

By Karen Harwood

At night I lay me down and try to sleep

I think of you and then I weep

When we work and our eyes meet

We laugh and play

We drive the streets

Hoping for the longest run,

See who makes the greatest pun

It’s up too soon

We wind it down

There’s no one left to play the clown

At night again

I lay me down and try to sleep

I think of you and that’s not wrong

I just can’t ever sing this song

The memories my heart will keep

But still again

I start to weep.

Spring 2015


By Karen Harwood

I rush

I wander

No time to squander

I cry and retreat

Then it’s back on my feet

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