shoots and wings, thresholds and thank you’s

i woke today to an earlier light,

slicing sun… between wooden blinds.

Spring soil…it shifts and yearns

in shy murmurs… of shoots and wings.


how the wind is alive

with the long forgotten calls

of weary immigrant birds,

floating currents… returning home.


and maybe… my day is here

to shed this curfew of skin and doubt,

finally… free myself forward

shutter eyes that lurk behind my head.


let my instinct… map a ready sky,

a fragile trust and mysterious as flight.

let unfurl… these inadvertent wings

and surrender my will to each unknown.


there is stubborn in my bones

a rain worn feather remains as resolute,

and how much fear… i’ve let fly

oh, sweet wing of creation… take me home.
When I began this little blog a year ago, I had such meager and modest expectations that anyone would pay any attention to what was being written here, let alone take the time to leave a comment because of something I happened to write.

I wrote short stories then, a memoir of sorts, recollections of a kid from a troubled family living in a poor and forsaken neighborhood in Brooklyn. And that’s all I had plans to write until I just happened to see a link to a poetry site on someone’s blog. It was the first week of April, and just happened to be the first week of National Poetry Month.

I still can’t explain what compelled me to submit a poem, I’d only written one until then just a few months earlier. But I did, flying by the seat of my proverbial pants, against every fear and anxiety I wrote renewal. I was so heartened and overwhelmed by the response, I wrote another.

And the rest, as they say is history.

But I believe our history is a living thing, and so very humbly here I am… 150 poems later. This past week this little blog surpassed 16,000 page views and recorded its 5000th comment and on days like this when I sit back and reflect on this profound improbability, I have to clunk myself in the head with the heal of my hand in a “I shoulda’ had a V8′ moment to make sure this isn’t a dream.

Me, who feared poetry all his life… is now obsessed with its writing.
shoots and wings
And now I think it’s time to ‘unfurl these inadvertent wings’, cast aside the fear and doubt and accept the gifts that are being presented. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be busy with some collaborations and personal projects I wanted to tell you about.

A dear friend and most talented writer Bianca (B.G. Bowers) is dedicating her blog for the entire month of April to invited guest poets and challenges. She has very graciously asked me to participate, and I was honored to accept. On April 20th my poems will be featured and I’m really excited at the prospect. Thank you again Bianca.

In the next few weeks, 3 poets who are held in very high regard for personal and important reasons, and I will be working on co written poems. The themes of each of these poems are so dramatically different, the challenges will likely take us all to places we haven’t been before. With the enormous energy and talent these poets possess, I have no doubt co writing these poems will be an exciting and rewarding creative experience and I thank them all for this opportunity.

When you have a chance please visit
Melanie (Wordifull) Chloe (Sirena Tales) and teardropsofink

And lastly, many of you might remember that this past summer I was invited to apply for residency to the Ragdale Artist Retreat. Considering the prestigious alumni that have and still spend time there, it is an honor for me to even be considered. I’ve hesitated to apply because the one requisite the board asks you to have, is a worthy goal, something you can or want to achieve while you are there. I didn’t…until now.

In a recent comment thread with my wonderful new poet friend Nomzi (Nomzi Kumalo), she mentioned that she’d like to have a collection or a book of some of her favorite poems of mine. And of course I gave her my standard ‘oh I’ve never had the dream or desire to be published’ response. She hasn’t been the first friend to tell me this…

well… I finally got the courage to ask ‘why not a book?’

So I will apply now and whether I get accepted to Ragdale or not, a book will be self published in the coming months. I do have a tentative title ‘poems of Hope from a wounded heart‘, and dear Chloe has so graciously accepted to write an introduction. Thank you Nomzi for the spark and thank you Chloe for being generous with your valuable time. Love and Hugs to you both!
thank you all
And of course none of this would have or could have happened without all of you, who have read this poetry of mine and written so many profoundly heartfelt and encouraging comments. And a very special thanks to Melissa Hassard and the 20 Lines a Day community.

What an incredible gift this Circle of Encouragement is!

so ty, ty, ty, from the bottom of this very grateful heart.

Love and Hugs to you all!

84 thoughts on “shoots and wings, thresholds and thank you’s

  1. ok come here and let me give you a big old hug, you softie you -smiles from my heart. I LOVE this, the last verse especially. You are home, have been for a while. How exciting all these new adventures to look forward too. Your retreat, your writing, your co writing, your book! I wish you well Jack, I wish you words to carry you through your life and bring the reader so much joy. Hugs my friend, well done. x

    • aww, what a mama bear you are Jen, you’re making me **blush** ty sweet friend, and ty so much or mentioning that last stanza. this poem was completed last Sunday, i spent the past week trying to word that finish. and yes i do feel at Home here among my devoted WP friends, you all have taken me through some rough spots and your friendship will never be taken for granted.

      so sorry for not getting to your most recent posts yet, so many of my friends are participating in the poem a day NAPOMO challenge this month, my inbox is SWAMPED!

  2. K. A. Brace says:

    I liked ‘there is stubborn in my bones’ it very Whitmanesque.>KB

  3. Rachael Charmley says:

    What wonderful news and what a beautiful, inspiring post. I wish you well. I am way behind you with my own work. After six months blogging, I too was taken to poetry blogs. I had never considered writing poetry – I cannot write it. But now I learn how to express through haiku. I have no idea why I do it, other than I am compelled. I have no idea where it will lead. That bothers me, even though I know I should not need to know. I hope I can gather the strength to know what you have discovered, and simply carry on, if that is meant to be. Thank you.

    • hi Rachael and a very warm welcome to you. it sounds as though we share similarities in how we regard poetry, not only did i not think i could write it, i couldn’t decipher it and i still have trouble reading poetry. my painter friend Mary wrote ‘I paint with tenacity’, i really loved that for so many reasons, it just resonated in so many places. we find what we love to do, either by design or by accident. i believe it’s the Universe handing us a gift, leading us to a door, lighting a path…i’ve been very stubborn with my writing this year, i keep challenging myself, keep editing to make sure each word is the right word, each poem is the best i can write.

      i also believe only good things come from our best efforts, your Haiku are wonderful. i mentioned that in my first comment on your blog so i’m afraid i have to beg to differ that you cannot write poetry. just keep writing Rachael, you never know what will come of it or where it will take you next. ty for your wonderful comment, and for being here this morning!

  4. Roque says:

    “How the wind is alive, with the long forgotten calls of weary immigrant birds” . That line is so beautiful !

    • hi Roque, ty so much and a very warm welcome to you. this poem was written to the tempo of a song i just discovered and birdcalls i hadn’t heard since last year were wafting up to my 3rd floor window. i couldn’t help but write it, the words almost wrote themselves.

      i’m sorry i haven’t been to your blog yet to acknowledge and ty for following my poetry, i’m so very glad you’re here.

      • Roque says:

        Yeah, words have a funny way of making something beautiful by themselves..Reading your blog reminded me how much i used to love poems, but somewhere along the road , i had lost that love.
        So, thank you for making me search for my pablo nerudas and sylivia plaths.
        Good Luck with everything! 🙂

      • gee Roque, knowing that my words might have inspired you to find your poetry books again..
        well, that just put the sun in this cloudy sky. ty for that! enjoy!

  5. Nomzi Kumalo says:

    Oh how fabulous. 🙂 How exciting and I feel the spark and joy in this poem. I love it. If it were a painting it would be of the abstract expressionist kind. I watched a wonderful youtube video about a waitress who receives a life changing tip. It brought tears to my eyes. What a revelation; that we have gifts given to us every single day and we self sabotage because we do not feel worthy and plus we do not know how to receive these gifts.

    I am accepting gifts left right and centre now. 🙂 It can be sooo uncomfortable but it is uplifting for both myself and for the giver too. And my life is full of ‘spring soil’ and life! I am truly grateful to be part of your journey. Arriba Arriba! Lol

    • g’mornin Nomzi!
      ‘that we have gifts given to us every single day and we self sabotage
      because we do not feel worthy and plus we do not know how to receive these gifts.’

      oh that’s been me my entire life, it’s tiring isn’t it? lol. good on you for relishing the gifts,
      i can hear the promise in your fertile Spring soil, sweet poet! and how thankful i am, we
      found each other in this great big WP universe!

  6. YES! wonderful! best wishes, you deserve every success!

  7. “to shed this curfew of skin and doubt,’…what a spectacular line. I am one who is so glad you found your voice and share it with us here. This is wonderful news for you and I wish you much happiness and success with it all. I am glad things are looking up for you. Press on Good Warrior! Blessings!

    • ‘Press on Good Warrior’ oh i love that mantle, MarDrag. ty for that. i often feel i was born
      in the wrong century, i remember castles and maidens and swords and dragons…

      and you are so incredibly generous and kind, ty for being here.

      • I love this…as I have always felt that way too…castles swords and dragons, oh my! My loft is filled with treasures of hanging crystal dragons, artifacts from that era…and I admit I own a sword or two. I am sure we ran into each other in that long ago century. Glad to meet again here in this one.

        You are, Good Sir, indeed a Noble Warrior. Keep following your path. Reward is imminent. Blessings!

      • i thought that might be you, it’s a pleasure meeting you again! lol
        oh my, a loft with artifacts and a possible sword, i think if i had such
        things i’d play dress up while i watched Game of Thrones!

      • A pleasure meeting you again too. In my imaginary world…I do exactly as you say. Now…go play! 🙂 And have a wonderful day!

  8. Fabulous news! You are a genius and of this I’ve no doubt. To write poetry as you do of this extraordinary caliber and to hear that you’ve not been writing poetry your entire life astounds me. There is so much I could learn from you

    • Yves, i had to step away fro a bit to collect my thoughts after reading
      these words of yours, considering how highly i regard your poetry and
      your opinion about poetry i am left with little to say but THANK YOU.
      it’s so humbling to read such praise, I’ve never really been very good
      at accepting and believing it..i’m kinds at a loss for words Yves….

  9. I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!! You have to read that really LOUD to appreciate all the joy and good wishes behind those simple words. From my heart to yours, may happiness surround you and your wonderful words. Hugs bro. XXOO

  10. Muddletation says:

    This post made me smile so much I read it yesterday and today before commenting :)) (!!) It speaks volumes to our abilities to press on through self- doubt, to open our hearts to possibility and find that our insides are gold. I love the parallel too with my own tender beginnings in poetry last year a little later than you with Haiku (feeling compelled to write them as another commenter expressed ) and being encouraged by others to keep going, keep writing… This is wonderful, wonderful news, I too am very happy for you!!

    • ‘to open our hearts to possibility and find that our insides are gold.’ M, that line is so poetic and profoundly true, it deserves a rightful place in verse. it’s resonating seamlessly with a line that’s been rumbling around in my head for a few days, ‘seeking diamonds in the dark’. i think there’s a poem in there

      i guess i have a soft spot for those like you, like me who are finding their voice, who have this inexplicable need to write despite the fear of the new, of pushing past the boundaries and confinement of who and what we thought ourselves capable of. i’ve had to do that all my life to overcome a tough childhood, i guess i have a little practice by now lol and you would think it mightbe easier with all that experience, but each instance seems to have it’s own parameters and new rules…like writing. my painter friend Mary wrote ‘i paint with tenacity’, i loved that and totally understand what she means.

      M, there is poetry in you, i read and feel it. you have a very discerning eye and an empathetic heart.i will always encourage you to write more, i think there is more ink in your pen than you know.

  11. Mary says:

    Beautiful writing, and more important is the celebration of your wonderful gift of writing. A post filled with great news, it’s the best of times in your quest to bring emotion through words – they paint the visions. Congratulations.

    • ty dear Mary, your words brought a bright smile to my heart!

      i hope you don’t mind but i’ve been referencing that line of yours
      i loved so much. ‘I paint with tenacity’. it could be my mantra,
      these stubborn bones just won’t quit! lol

  12. Very lovely affirmation here; of birds and wind and wings I am very fond and you honor it well.

    You have a wonderful gift and I am proud of you for taking such a step-my wish for you to succeed in your endeavors remains as always. Congratulations on your success and I send you my hopeful thoughts of seeing the fullness of it come to fruition.

    I hope that you forgive me today, for not replying in my usual exuberance, as I have spent the last of my reserves, and as I am in immense pain with a debilitating migraine and nausea.

    You are a soul brother of the poetic form, and I see you, in the brightness of your light and the darkness of inner struggle. I embrace both of those things in you.

    May wisdom and temperance guide your words and your spirit to find peace with all things and all creation, including the inner-workings of your own heart.

    Blessings today and always.

    • my soul sister Holly, there is no forgiveness necessary, if there is any to be asked,
      it’s me of you. please know that, for reasons i will try and explain as i gather my
      thoughts tonight when it is quiet, i will not forsake you, nor did i have plans to.

      ‘in the brightness of your light and the darkness of inner struggle’
      i’ve been around long enough to know this connection of ours
      doesn’t happen very often or by accident.
      so…you’re kinda’ stuck with me now.

  13. lumar1298 says:

    Wonderful poetry that keeps me entertained… Thank you… Lor

  14. SirenaTales says:

    MW, Here’s to shedding curfews and other albatross that weigh us down, and instead soaring to sweeping, well-mapped skies–lovely verse, O Tenacious One :). And thank you, of course, for the deep honor of being linked to gifted you, and your gifts received and given. Congratulations, and always: rock on, baby. xoxo

  15. stacilys says:

    Congratulations. I look forward to reading your collective work. Even when I opened up my reader and saw that you had posted, I was glad and opened up to it right away.
    Your poem sounds like spring has sprung where you are. Am I right?

    • Spring is trying it’s very best, it’s here in stops and starts but enough to know
      the worst of our forever winter is behind us now. it’s part of what i was trying to
      convey in this poem as well. you are so sweet to be excited to open a post of mine,
      that really made my day. ty stacylys, you are a beautiful soul.

      • stacilys says:

        I’m so sorry that I can’t empathize with that. I’m sweating at the moment, even though we’re in our autumn. No complaints on my end though. I absolutely need the sun and heat.
        You are too kind, but that you for your kind words.

      • oh, that’s right, you’re in Brazil. it’s one of the few countries i would consider moving to
        if i ever had the chance, i live for the warm sweat and sun on my skin. i have clinical S.A.D.,
        and i’m not sure how many more winters like this i can survive!

      • stacilys says:

        I swear I have that too. I am very affected by climate and weather. When I lived in Ottawa the winters were very dry. I would go to Vancouver for Christmas to visit family and it was very damp. I was so tired and had no energy the entire time. The sun is my best friend.

      • ‘I was so tired and had no energy the entire time’, yes, it sounds as though you might.
        i realized mine was clinical about 5 years ago, it was so grey and sunless for weeks
        one winter into March i fell into a very deep depression. my partner Scout booked us
        a 10 day, all inclusive stay at a seaside hotel in Mexico. it was 100 degrees with a
        cloudless sunny sky and while we waited 15 minutes for the shuttle bus in the parking lot,
        i could literally feel the weight of my depression lifting off my shoulders. it was remarkable!

  16. Miranda Stone says:

    Congratulations on these wonderful milestones! And good for you for deciding to publish your poetry, my friend. As for the poem you shared today, occasionally I’ll come across a line of poetry that makes me say aloud, “Wow!” This line of yours: “to shed this curfew of skin and doubt” had that very effect on me. Beautifully written.

    • ty for all the well wishes Miranda, it’s been an interesting process to decide on publishing a book.,
      i wasn’t expecting to write poetry so i finally asked myself, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ lol
      and thanks for noticing my favorite line in the poem, i wish i could take full credit for it but it just came
      out of nowhere. what a mystery poetry is, and it’s partly why i’m so obsessed with it now.

  17. Congratulations, Dear Friend!!! Truly this is recognition well deserved! I cannot wait to read what is shared of your work! I am so happy for you. This was beautifully written, as well–did not want to forget to mention your incredible poem.

    • ty for that Skye, i was a little worried the poem would get overshadowed by all the news,
      but the two were inseparable in my mind so i posted them together. i’m real excited about the
      poetry share on Bianca’s blog, that will be a first in a year of ty for being here Skye,
      i always love seeing your gravatar on my pages and your comments always put a sun in my sky!

  18. You write as though you’ve always written poetry.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • hi Wendy and a very warm welcome to you. ty so much for saying that,
      the skin seems to fit well, so i just wear it. that pure mystery of the why’s
      of life, and the why and how of poetry that i find so profoundly intriguing.
      that i could find poetry so late in my life, is a gift from the Universe!.

  19. The best of luck with all your lovely endeavors!
    Always with humility and kindness, that’s the spirit. I look forward to checking all your new material in the pipe line ^_^
    *big fat thumbs up*

  20. bgbowers says:

    Well, first thing’s first – congratulations on deciding to publish a book! That is such wonderful news 🙂 If this is the beginning of your already incredible journey, then imagine what you have to look forward to..:-)

    Second, your poem…so many memorable phrases that resonate so deeply…

    “slicing sun… between wooden blinds”

    “how the wind is alive
    with the long forgotten calls
    of weary immigrant birds”

    “to shed this curfew of skin and doubt”

    Keep writing, keep sharing your words, it is your destiny. xoxo

    • hi Bianca, ty for the well wishes on the book, i guess i just ran out of excuses on why NOT to do it lol,
      but i am really looking forward to the self publishing process and i was hoping when i really get started to
      possibly ask you for a few pointers.

      well…writing does finally feel like my destiny. it’s a skin that seems to fit well for some reason so I’m wearing it
      and enjoying the ride. i really appreciate you citing my favorite phrases as well. ‘slicing sun…’ i had to work hard at,
      the others just came out of nowhere, as poetry does sometimes and why i love it so much! ty you again Bianca.

  21. Great writing – one can feel the internal struggle which you describe. Thanks for the recommendations – I am familiar with Chloe (a great writer), and am enjoying Melanie’s work.

  22. I can’t begin to tell you how happy reading this post has made me. I reread it to make sure I didn’t miss anything and let it all sink in 🙂 Smiling the entire time might I add.

    1- I’m so happy and proud of you for deciding to publish. I too am going to publish my first ook of poetry this year. Yay, us!!

    2- I am truly honored for the mention and to be doing a cowrite with you. I can’t wait to see where our words take us.

    3- I love this WP community. It allows people like you and I to have a family more loving and supportive than we had growing up. AND I’ve met a few people who have touched me so that I can’t imagine not knowing them. You are one of those people. But of course you know that you are stuck with me for good…. I found you again in this life and I’m sure I will in the next.

    4- This poem is lovely and full of a determined hope. Favorite lines:
    “slicing sun… between wooden blinds.”
    “in shy murmurs… of shoots and wings”
    “to shed this curfew of skin and doubt,” and
    “there is stubborn in my bones”

    5- I hope you are accepted into Ragdale and I’m sure you will be if that is he right place for you.

    6- Did I mention I’m so happy for you.

    7- I’m glad Spring is starting to make its way to you!

    8- Hugs, light and inspiration to you dear one.

    • did i mention how happy and loved i feel reading your comment over and over?
      how lucky are we to have found each other in this great big WP universe, and
      how profoundly grateful i am for the gift of you dearest Melanie.

      the ‘stubborn in my bones’ was written with you in mind, the words you sent
      already sparked a story that will post this weekend…i am altering and adjusting
      my heart to fully commit to our co write, opening doors slowly that are usually locked.

      i can visualize you in your writing room, alone with a single light on finally having the
      uninterrupted time and private sanctuary we all need to create. i feel the excitement
      in your words, it’s unmistakeable and i could not be happier for you.

      and yes, Spring has finally arrived…..for us both!
      annd stuck with you?….yeah, like glue girl! lol!

  23. Kenne says:

    Congratulations! Much deserved recognition for your outstanding poetic and artistic contributions, and your own growth as an artist. I look forward to enjoying whatever is shared in your book – your poetry has such deep feeling picturesque images and a sense of journey!
    May your journey continue in color and word passion.

    • ‘deep feeling picturesque images and a sense of journey!’, wow, what a poetic compliment Kenne, ty so much.
      and it is about the journey isn’t it?, though we may not always recognize it at the time. this writing skin seems
      to fit well, so i’ll just continue wearing it and see where it leads. i greatly appreciate your support and kindness,
      and i always look forward to your comments. ty again!

  24. cindy knoke says:

    You write beautifully and your success is well deserved. Bravo~

  25. nutsfortreasure says:

    I am so happy for you and hope you are accepted send them to us we will vouch for you 🙂

  26. And you are the King & AIP of poetry, painting ,writing, dogs & probably cellos

    • oh raechel, you flatter me too much…lol i have to watch out,
      with all this praise i might develop dining room head’! that’s an
      old Brooklyn street term for someone who’s head gets so big,
      it can’t fit in the dining room! lol….cellos? how did you know i
      once played the cello?

  27. Tiny says:

    Lovely poem and a great true story of the birth of a poet!

  28. Oh wow, I can’t wait for the book. Love it! 🙂

    • hey Shirley! so glad to see you on my pages, are you back from
      your hiatus? heh… honestly, i just ran out of excuses to myself
      for not compiling a book, i’m very good at that fool myself skill! lol
      and ty, you are so sweet to be excited!

  29. It sounds like you have wonderful opportunities in store for you. Your writing is exquisite and so glad you are getting the opportunity to expand and expound further. Congrats and happy writing.

    • hi paintswithwords and a very warm welcome to you. ty for this abundance of kindness and for taking the time to write such a wonderful comment. it means a lot to me.

      i guess i’m getting better at accepting gifts these days, saying ‘yes; to opportunities that are presenting themselves. it’s the Universe lighting a path for me…time to start walking’!

  30. Noora says:

    Yay!! Finally. I can’t WAIT for the book, my friend. Hope all is beautiful in your world. 🙂

    • hi Noora, and how sweet you are to be excited about the book, ty for that and ty for visiting the guest post and clicking a like there too, i really appreciate that. i miss you, how are you doing?

  31. lionessawake says:

    It is hard to believe you only began writing poetry such a short time ago, when you speak with the wisdom of the sages. I hope you don’t find it patronizing or weird when I say… I am so proud of you! Your courage, humility and inner beauty just shines and make me smile 😀

    • heh, honestly D it’s near impossible for me to believe i write poetry,
      since words were never my vocabulary. i always ‘thought’ in images,
      not words but here i am. who woulda’ thunk it? lol and no, it’s not
      at all patronizing, it’s incredibly sweet, like something my mom
      woulda’ said to me. so ty for that D, it’s a wonderful sentiment.

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