Salt Bearer

a shadow from the past
cast upon a new life
a dream in the shape of you
ashes and dust be gone

exorcise this demon
feasting on the soul
crammed within Pandora’s box
left to be forgotten

haunting the mind
brushing up against the landscape
leaving your scent behind
a lingering trail of memory

like a slug
leaving mucous in its wake
tainting the path
with residue – a sticky slime

tracking your every move
we come with salt and lime
shriveling and poisoning
at once existence to nothingness

 

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What I Know of Leaves

As a child, I loved autumn – the fallen leaves raked in piles on my lawn with their musty scent always thrilled me. I remember my Dad and I raked the leaves from around the entire yard to create the largest mound possible before plunging into the mountainous pile.

I still find great pleasure in the autumn leaves, but I haven’t jumped into a pile of them in quite some time. Perhaps I need to do that again. But these days I find myself admiring the colors and shapes of leaves. I enjoy the crunch of dried leaves beneath my feet as I cross the lawn and I still love their earthy scent. I enjoy watching the squirrels scamper through them as they seek to hide their treasures.

I think the leaves are my favorite part of the season. They seem to pair nicely with jeans, hooded sweatshirts, and hiking boots.

Upon the wind, they gather and play
dancing and swirling as though
they were a sign of youth and vigor
instead of the dying of another season.

Laying one upon the other
Shifting and stirring,
rustling with
each footfall and breath of the Earth.

Hues changing, ripening
with intense beauty and fading
into the background with age.

The Wooden Frog

I’m on vacation this week staying at one of my favorite places right on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, Star of the Sea. We have stayed here many times over the past five years or so, and I always look forward to returning.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a skeeball junkie. I love old-fashion arcades, and Rehoboth beach happens to be the home of one of my all-time favorite arcades.

Now for the real story.

Every year we’ve come to Star of the Sea, there’s been a wooden frog in the lobby leading out to the boardwalk. The first time we stayed, we discovered through mere curiosity that the wooden frog was hollow and you could remove his top to reveal a shallow bowl. It was empty, and it gave me an idea; I decided to leave something in the frog as a gift for the next curious explorer, most likely a child.

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My first thought was a treasure map leading to a small buried/hidden treasure, but later decided that wasn’t a practical thing as the bearer of the map might not be the first to discover the stash. I opted instead to leave arcade tickets.

Such a gift was utterly within my character, as my arcade winnings are rarely if ever, redeemed for prizes. It is my tradition to give the tickets away to a child before leaving the arcade. It’s actually my favorite part of going to the arcade; getting to see a child’s face light up when they realize that I’m gifting them my tickets.

Ever since that first year, upon our arrival at Star of the Sea, we’ve checked the frog to see what loot others may have stashed there. I’m reasonably sure that each time we’ve found something in the frog. Always some sort of anonymous gift.

This year, we discovered several pieces of what appears to be play money and various other items.

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We discovered a little note card sitting next to the frog simply saying, “Take one, leave one.” Perhaps management or the cleaning service have clued in on the game their patrons like to play.

Our trip to the arcade this morning has now supplied our newest contribution to the wooden frog. A ticket slip from the arcade will be found by the next set of curious little fingers to explore the frog in the lobby.

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I have no idea if we were the first to begin what has become this tradition of paying it forward, but to those who continue to participate, I thank you. It’s nice to see that there are still small treasures in this world to be found if you are curious enough to go looking.

Up Before Anyone Else

mornings  meant for quiet
contemplation
and                 coffee

dream storms have passed
in waking hours
our interpretation
lacking

while felines
bask in the  morning light
spilling
through windows
chasing shadows and tails

dear self,
seek inspiration
in
wild dreams
and
reflective morning silence

 

Mountain

[In response to One Word Prompt]

As a child, my family and I took week-long camping vacations to Ricketts Glen State Park in the mountains. We’d spend the week encountering wildlife, hiking the trails and falls, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, swimming at the Lake Jean beach area, and biking around the camping loops. I loved every minute of it.

I remember one trip in particular that stands out. It was the summer I met Tom. Tom was an elderly gentleman who played the bagpipes at the wooded amphitheater across the water. He enjoyed playing there because of the acoustics. The beautiful and mysterious melodies that danced across the lake drew me in; I was entranced. I remember racing around the lake at dusk hoping to catch his evening performances. He was the first man I’d ever seen wearing a kilt and traditional Scottish regalia, and I was in awe of his bizarre plaid-bag-with sticks looking instrument and its oddly haunting sounds. I vaguely remember him letting me squeeze the bag and being delighted by the honk it made.

I wish I could say that I remember more about the man or that I’d somehow remained in contact, but that isn’t the case. I do, however, remember half expecting and later hoping to hear his music each year as we returned to our family camping spot. I don’t recall ever seeing him again though.

 

 

Coordinates of Friendship

words {sifted} from among the rubble
and darkness brought forth
into the light

searching for meaning

in distance / time
(= speed)

refraction of light
allows us to see each other
clearly, but not

*the future*

this space between our two points,
the geography of your mind,
this vessel navigates by heart

determine the equation
for happiness,
graph it on the Cartesian plane;
finding longitude and latitude,
set our course.

The shortest distance between two points will always be a straight line,

but

I’d                                                                                                     rather

circumnavigate                                                                             the world

with you.

 

A Thank You to George S. Schmidt

Upon being asked recently when I began writing and who my favorite writers are, I recalled a specific book of poetry that I’ve kept in my collection for a considerable length of time and have periodically returned to throughout my life. I believe the book came to me around the age of 8 or 9, but how it became mine, I’m not entirely certain. Most likely I picked it up at a yard sale or library sale as I do know that it was not a new book when it came to me. Its pages had already begun to yellow at that point.

From the first time I read the book, there were some poems that I enjoyed. Not every verse was of interest to me (as is still the case), but one poem, “Sunlit Yesterdays,” stands out in this collection as a poem I’ve repeatedly read to the point of near memorization. I have no idea what exactly drew me to this particular poem as a child since it is the poet reflecting on his life in old age. But this poem has always drawn me in. There are a few others I’ve always enjoyed within the collection as well. The book is entitled Random Rhymes, which seems rather nondescript and ordinary.

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However, my most recent re-exploration of this book focused not so much on the poetry itself, but I was curious about the background of the book and its author. I made some interesting coincidental discoveries (exciting to me anyway), and I wanted to share them.

So the book was written by George S. Schmidt and it just so happens that he was from York, PA, which is only about 30-40 minutes away from where I live. This information intrigued me, and I have been digging for more details. The forward of his book indicated publication in 1928. I was able to find a copy of the book for sale on Amazon. Even more amazing, I learned that this was Schmidt’s second book of poetry, the first was entitled Vagrant Verses.  Mr. Schmidt was a business person and lawyer in York; he was born in 1861 and died in 1935.

George S. Schmidt appears to have had a sense of humor that I quite appreciate. In the forward he says, “I am transmitting this booklet to the individual members of the Order, and to a few other of my friends, at a time when their hearts are so throbbing with goodwill towards men, and their eyes too dazzled by the lights of Christmastide, that their vision is impaired, and the manifold defects in these random and disconnected rhymes may ‘to some extent’ escape them.” I find this amusing. It appears that he gave this book only to a small circle of friends (it was privately published) and told them that even though they received the book out of his love and affection for them, they were in no way obligated to read all of it or any of it for that matter. A man after my own heart, he was.

I am sure none of this is of interest to anyone besides myself. However, I can’t get over the idea that I’ve kept this book for over 20 years because it marked the beginning of my love for poetry and, in part, inspired me to write poetry myself. So for the past 15 years, I’ve been living within miles of the author’s hometown. The book traveled over a hundred miles to get to me as a child, only to land close to home once again.

So, in conclusion, I thank you my dear departed friend, George S. Schmidt for your many years of companionship. I have indeed read each poem in your collection, and though I do not like every poem, I do appreciate your work.

Writing on an Empty Stomach

Writing on an Empty Stomach

Coming here on an empty stomach is good for the soul;
I’m hungry, but for more than just a good meal. Forget the
Filet mignon! I’m hungry for the words that come so fast and thick that you can’t
catch them all,
and then just as they arrive,
they dry up
and slow
to a
mere
trickle
as the night moves onward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Lament

Earlier this evening I was lamenting to a friend how I enjoy sharing my writing with others; however,  if I want to send my poetry out to literary journals/magazines for publication, they rarely allow “reprints” which means if I’ve published it on my blog or on Facebook or anywhere else, they won’t accept it. Though I understand why I find this frustrating because part of me just wants to share my work, but I also like the idea of being published. It was at this point in our conversation that I began to question my own motives. Why? Why does it matter if my poems are published in some obscure literary rag in the darkest recesses of the internet?

It was at this point in our conversation that I began to question my own motives. Why? Why does it matter if my poems are published in some obscure literary rag in the darkest recesses of the internet?

As much as I’d prefer to bs the answer to this and just say, “because it just does damn it!” That is a massive cop-out, and I know it. It doesn’t really have anything to do with publication, but it does have a hell of a lot to do with a need for validation. I am a validation whore! There, I said it.

We all want to be appreciated and told that we’re good at something. It feels good when people recognize us. It feels good when you can point to your name in print (and not just in the police report column of the local paper) and say, “I wrote that.”

But here’s the problem, I recently was fortunate enough to have that very opportunity. I did the thing! My name is in print alongside some amazingly talented friends! So why do I still continue to send my work out to various publications?

What my answer boils down to is that I have this nagging little voice in my head that keeps telling me I am still, somehow, not worthy to call myself a writer or a poet, though I know I most certainly am.

I need a plan of attack and it just so happens that my dear friend gave me an excellent solution, though I didn’t see it at the time. He said that I should post a verse a day and just tag people who enjoy my writing. At the time, I was only luke-warm to the suggestion, and I said I’d “try;” he replied, “do or do not, there is no try.” Ugh. Fuck it. Alright, I give in. I responded, “fair enough – I will…and now because I told you I will, I must actually do it.”

So now I have a challenge, but also an opportunity – to share; and maybe, just maybe, I’ll come to realize what I already know to be true; I already have all the validation I need. I write; therefore, I am a writer. It doesn’t matter whether others think my writing is “good enough” or not; all that matters is that I keep writing.

 

And…I’m officially a published poet!

Check it out!!!! Thanks to a group of absolutely amazing friends of mine, I am now officially a published poet in a poetry ebook along with a bunch of talented poets and artists and I am beyond-words excited. I’m so honored to be included in this ebook with these individuals who are so incredibly amazing.

Our book is entitled Because of a Word and can be purchased through the link below on Amazon.cover_promo

Click the link to check it out, or purchase a copy : http://tiny.cc/Because-of-a-Word

‪#‎becauseofaword‬

My fellow poets and artists:
Kait Moon, Jorge Silva Rodighiero, Katy Lewellen, Elizabeth Hope, Amy Chap, Casey Bee, Estelle Olivia, Anna Ssez, Ian Colin Roditi, Angel Rosen, Ashley Plumridge, Anita Clipston

Please join me in celebrating! I’m over-the-moon!