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!

s c r i b b l i n g

Friday Repost
for my new friends,
a little dig in the
archives for you.
also, today is a
travel day so my
replies will be
delayed until
later tonight. ty.

images (23)
i seem
to remember
when i was a kid,
being in my


on my belly
surrounded by
page after page
of white and


of them
filled to the
edges, every
square inch
used up


how many
hours i spent
by myself,
so deep
in my

i m a g i n a t i o n


s c r i b b l i n g .

and it’s funny,
there was
fear of
failure then.

because there
was always




filled up
all the


empty wall…
images (24)

dear readers and writers…a co write

dear friends,

this is a co write between teardrops of ink and myself. we began this poem over a month ago, born from tentative blog converstaions of two internet strangers. we hope you enjoy it, as much as we did writing it.

dear readers and writers

(The Writer)
Frail lives
penned into strong, black lines
on display, hidden
in plain sight for all to see
The moment of truth
Afraid to try, afraid to reach out:
yet more afraid not to.

(a reader)
and it’s these moments…
in reading the poetry of real people,
of eyes that we will never speak to, the miles
we will never bridge, the shoulder,
our reassuring hand will never reach…
it’s these moments when pain,
her vulnerability so courageously
etched across the screen, a pain that
resonates so deep into my own heart, that
i wonder… what…if….should, i risk
saying what i really want to say…

(The Writer)
Some days, I don’t feel real.
Nothing does.
Except for these thin webs
connecting space, this
frail air full
of unspoken words
and spoken ones.
I am burdened to give,
to share
to hold nothing back
All of my heart, bleeding out for you
All of you. Those who I will never know
or see or touch.
Yet you know more of me than
those who can see and touch

(a reader)
she has revealed
so much of herself in such
naked honesty stripped of metaphors
could it…is it enough that
i suffer for us in
my silent solidarity,
click ‘like’ and move on?
i ache for us… both
that her words would ever need to be written
that my wound could still bleed as fresh
we’ve talked before…
in that day’s long conversation…
in her beautiful poem To Taste the Autumn
at least a tenuous connection
exists between us now…
will she recall it
fondly as i do?
or is it just
what i need
to feel?…

(The Writer)
can work both ways. He
could say one thing and I
read another, same words, different
thoughts born from them. Gently phrasing,
almost afraid to tread
too heavy inside
the dark recesses of others minds
lest I leave too much of a footprint.
Yet how will we know if we
are the same inside unless we break
open the shell a little
and look?
Absent touch
Handshakes reaching
through binary code

And the silence stops pressing in
quite so much.

(a reader)
the pain in her poetry
has scratched and scrawled into my heart,
taken root in decomposed memories
it resides there, in
wounds buried decades deep
below this sudden resurrection
but tears as wet
if there is more to grieve
then who better to empathize?
i’ll bare this truth
as she has,
expose my softest underbelly
empathy shouldn’t
feel like such a risk,
but there is
no turning away now

(the friend)
i am so profoundly happy for you!
ty so much for sharing that wonderful news!
i remember when Scout and i first realized we were in love…
nothing else existed….enjoy your time together.

and they say fairy tales
don’t come true….

hugs to you
my dear friend

(The Writer)
Pale and
ethereal tendrils
snaking through the dark overheads
Soft as newborn stars
More tender than petals
The reassurance of a stranger’s words
reaching through the universe
to embrace a lonely soul
Enticing touch of a tentative friendship
born through blood
and fire
and words
pressed into my heart and
Shedding sweet tears
til no bitter remains..

angel of words

for my new friends
at Poets Pub, for
d’verse Open Link Night

.my Angel of Words
you will find no fight in these fingers

they are slaves to your gentle insistence

find a willingness in this empty pen

fill it with nuance and inspiration
oh, Angel of Words
cover me, in your earnest shroud

cloak me, with your vocabulary

help me hear the meter, divine the rhyme

take me on a journey above the constant clouds
climb with me into a clean

and ever clear sky

quiet this busy

mind, erase


as we


……………………softly into the

………………………cradle of pure creativity,

……………………only you can open these two eyes

………………..when they believe there is nothing to see
with me over these uncharted landscapes

……..steel my spine, help heal these tragic memories

……………fill this fragile heart with bravery

………………… face my unknowns and life’s every mystery.

this song is an integral part of this poem, not the
tempo as usual but the mood it creates::::enjoy::::

::::h u m::::


i should






a sure

c r e a t i v i t y,

a fog
my t r u t h.

and here n o w,
in its forgiving
s o l i t u d e





w o r d s

my every

a l i g n i n g,

p o e t r y
her steady

::::h u m::::





…………………………u n i v e r s e




between us
poetry spanning
the virtual distance,
and hearing your doubt,
feeling each tentative recoil.

your words
do not dance on
such fragile trust here.

and always speak your heart
and believe it knows your truth.
and i suspect we will tell each other,
what our mirror needs telling ourselves.

submitted to 20 Lines A Day


has your love
so quiet and fearful,
dormant in its shrouded heart?

don’t believe
the pale vocabulary
of this ambivalant world,
silence, its own sharp betrayal.

and what
benefit has my
abundant heart if
not sharing our pain?

i am
not afraid
of your fear.

reach then,
reach for my hand
the true sky is waiting.
couple these hearts together
and we can glide above this fray.

sunrise animated photo: Sunrise 1 sunrise.jpg

Written April 2013
submitted to 20 Lines A Day
prose an poetry challehnge for April

So I went to the secondhand store


My first painting class at Parsons School of Design in New York thirty years ago was in no uncertain terms utterly terrifying. I really had no idea what to expect, nightime class so many people easels a teacher who was a painter not good in groups less so with strangers, the introductions and the quasi interest in your goals mumbling through mine unintelligable, a blathering stream of ‘is that really what I said’ bad and a request to ‘say it again and louder please this time so we can all hear you’ would have sent me straight for the exit.

Thankfully that didn’t happen the teacher I noticed immediately was himself fidgeting, moving his head in fact everything seemed to be in rubbery motion all limbs and digits simultaneously. You might, if your little self speech was rehearsed for days crafted refined be a little offended because Paul seemed to want to move past and get this over with as soon as possible and let’s start to paint, as much as I did.

I’m not sure if anyone else saw this, I didn’t ask but I did take notice impossible for me not to a sympatico there with Paul, a resonance of familiar that eased my anxiety allowed me to breath again to settle in and feel maybe just maybe I could do this, after all.

He was the best teacher I ever had I grew to love him as only a drought thirsty student could love a teacher who offered so much so freely. His way was gentle, cautious always saying a lot less than others wanted that’s what I heard in whispers during breaks. Everything was a question they said, nothing concrete and how good a teacher could he be if he didn’t tell you exactly how to paint?

He told me everything in his questions.

The only rules the absolutes were these:

Sketch.. sketch.. sketch.. and look, always.

If you get stuck turn the canvass to the wall.

As we studied the masters he would point his dirty fingernail at strokes of paint and say furrowed brow emphatically over and over,

Nothing on that canvas is an accident!’

These rules these truths on painting The 3 Rules of Paul I carried with me cherished throughout my life, always watching observing absorbing, filing pictures in my head for recall later. Patience like painting is indeed a virtue a gift to yourself and others as you try negotiate communicate the trickiness of everyday relationships every word what we do and why is important.

Nothing is invaluable enough to waste.

And just in case you’re wondering I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention because it all sounds so perfect on paper, in retrospect it wasn’t and won’t be. Hardly. There’s human here flesh and bones and mistakes, far too many to list here. It’s just that I try hard, I’m persistent but when I inevitably fail fall short the harshest critic my own formidable enemy myself and it’s been a continuous voice over playing in my background for as long as I can remember.

And so it goes with writing now a new craft passion I didn’t know I had hadn’t even considered there was no forewarning that I could paint with words and sketch with letters because words were not my vocabulary. I’m just a picture person or I was just that person until fairly recently. It was all about images an impression pictures imprinted for recall at a later date but now words phrases and paragraphs are attaching themselves sticking to the pictures like Post It Notes on a magazine page. They glue meld and are inseperable now a new language an eye opening, what the hell is this discovery that I’m beginning to like.

So there’s a process now developing I’m recognizing the repeat as absolute as anything I’ve ever known, as familiar as my fingerprints.
I just had no idea whatsoever that the same rules would apply no clue that it would be this universal so easily applicable to sketching with letters and painting with words. Words…. I’m beginninng to wear them breaking them in getting acclimated and comfy. I let them resonate now color an otherwise gloomy outlook depressed.

Words, a self comfort I didn’t know I had.

I sketch now, write paragraphs fill up templates save and preview turn the canvas to the wall stuck and walk away, not all paragraphs are paintings they won’t be, they can’t be at least not for me, sketching always. Paintings are definitive a statement and over time they begin to take shape layers edit, reveal themselves and feel complete this essay. Sketching is an exploration an urgent attempt to mark a moment make mistakes ask questions and turn the page and ask some more.

Painting the process form follows function sketching has always been solitary singular done in private not shared everything quiet and still in the slow of the night. And as comfortable a process as this has become for me now something new has emerged sharing written words, I’m beginning to wear it well a little a day beginning to like it and am trusting the results.

If I sound wide eyed it’s because I am, there’s a revelation here and I might be in awe of what I’ve become so late in my day. I could try and explain its significance profound but I can’t so I’ll tell what I did today instead. It snowed heavy in Chicago an inch an hour grey sloppy roads unplowed unpassable.

So I went to the secondhand store to buy some clothes.

It’s a barn of a place a brick box bare bones flourescent lights aisles and rack after rack few mirrors. There are always people there I watch them observe as always they’re busy in their heads moving hangers and studying prices making calculations and compromises.

I didn’t head for the dark stuff today my worn out route memorized and I left with 2 giant shopping bags there’s a sale most everyday 10 shirts sheatshirts vest and some hoodies and less than $65 came out of my pocket. A bargain by any measure and maybe a statement too because none of these used new clothes as is my usual habit not a single one was black.

Written January 2012, edited.