A Blog Anniversary and a Writer’s Thanks



The writer at his post

Just received a note from WordPress congratulating me on the 6th Anniversary of this blog, A Thing for Words.

Wow! I’ve been on WordPress for six and on Blogspot for one year before that. That’s seven years of sharing my work with you readers online.

It also means I’ve been walking this second-chance trail for eight years. It’s kinda saved my life, in addition to enriching it for an hour or so a day. Sitting at this desk almost every day with my head down and imagination up (pretension alert!!) breathe some life into a heart and soul that could easily slip back into the dark.

So, if you’re a regular at my joint or not, I thank you for your continued support and encouragement. I hope I’ve added a spoonful or two of light into your days, too.

a·ban·doned, adj.


The crisp heartbeat rhythm
he’d hang pictures upon
dulled to a matte thing
reflecting nothing but
whispered brushstrokes.

In its place,
an amber-light ache,
a cautionary Don’t
raising its hand,
a bleary ellipsis en route
to comma and then
the silencing dot.

In the white field’s
vacant stare,
he thought of then,
of that, of her, of them,
of eyes, of laughter,
of tears.
Of abandonment, of regret.

So he turned from them,
dipping his pen into the well
of almosts and sortas.
But what good were imprecise
words if they couldn’t
bring that face into
his inky hands again?

Nothing happening here today. Nothing to see. Nothing to hear. Move along. Move along…

Searching for a Cure for Closed Books



My books squat
in a burgeoning pile,
stratum upon dusty stratum,
each full of words wise
though silent,
save for the imagined
‘tsk’ my mind’s ear absorbs
with crimson shame.

I view them as a tourist
walking past pictures
of le Tour Eifel
or la Torre di Pisa,
glimpsing their images
from the corner of my eye
but never scaling their heights.
Even if that height
barely brushes my knee.

And there lies the blue and
fallow field of my e-reader,
within which I occasionally
climb stunted virtual trees.
Why do I no longer consume
the artfully written word?
Have I lost my appetite,
or am I waiting without recipe
to cook up something
even I would read?

Quickly dashed off poem of sorts inspired by this week’s prompt from Annie Fuller and her Writing Outside the Lines challenge. In this case, it is this quote from the great Mary Oliver (who I DO read):

“I read my books with diligence, and mounting skill, and gathering certainty. I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.”

Once I read on a level akin to respiration or eating, to sustain my life. Today, for reasons I cannot parse, I’ve become an asthmatic anorexic of the written word. I need a cure and I’ve yet to heal myself.

Between Truth and the Lie


I’ve told you stories, a few hung on a lie,
maybe they brought a tear to your eye.
Now about these stories, some told in verse,
seems I wrote them in hopes I’d stop feeling worse.

I’ve told you stories, some hooked to white lies,
and I spun them to not be the man we’d despise.
So you see these stories, they just had to be told,
before I forgot them when I got too old.

I’ve told so many stories, I guess most of them lies,
capturing you, you and you in some form of disguise.
I didn’t tell those stories, even the pure lies,
to make you feel angry I might be another of “those guys.”

So, I’ve told you my story, and the truth’s set me free.
I finally told it when I just couldn’t hold it, you see,
struggling to discern between truth and the lie,
when the story ends and maybe that’s you and I.

A wide-body poem about how the artist’s imagination conflates what’s real and what’s not. He ends up creating something perhaps subconsciously (or not) straddling–if not downright erasing–that line between seeing fact and the view through his cracked prism. I think the meter of this piece was informed by the  Jason Isbell’s song Stockholm.

The Uncertain Certainty of Eternity


I stood before their stone
one afternoon, wondering
what comes next. Is death
the punctuation of life?
An exclamation point or
even an ellipsis. The wind
rose and strummed the trees
in a protracted C-major.
The birds chirped in layers
of tiny percussive iambs,
heartbeats that predate us
and likely will continue
long after we’re gone.

For a moment, I heard
a poet who writes on clouds
the wind carries away like
pages torn from a notebook.
Without a manuscript, Nature speaks
in verse without words,
something few understand
until we’re closer to
our own grand editing,
where all will be revealed
and we’ll spend our
final breath on an “ahhhh.”
And our poem will go on and on
for the uncertain certainty
of eternity…even if I won’t

A quickly dashed off poem of sorts based upon the quote from John Keats at the top of this posting. It’s this week’s prompt (the first in months) from my friend Sharyl Fuller.

So The Poets Tell Me


He asked me how I do this,
lacing words like macaroni
on a string of some thread
of a thought, like it’s
a Mother’s Day gift necklace
you dutifully made in second Grade.
Sometimes it’s that easy,
and it looks it, wonky doggerel
with broken mini penne sticking out
like a the the in the third line.
Other times, when you want to weave
something special,
like a fine Navajo blanket in verse,
it comes out looking like
one of those potholders you’d make
from stretchy bands on
a comb-toothed frame in Cub Scouts.
But when the right thought,
the right words,
the right secret sauce
of frantic inspiration
comes along,
thirty minutes staring into
the pale blue haze
of a laptop screen
just before dawn
can feel like only
a heartbeat, and look like
a poetic sundown sky scape
from the pages
of Arizona Highways.
Or so The Poets tell me.

Sorta, kinda inspired by my brother. Thanks, Mike. This probably doesn’t answer your question, but to think about the How usually ends up with me asking myself Why. And that’s a question I don’t think I can answer in one of my pieces of pasta jewelry like the word one above.

Creating the First Creation


This weekend I finally started getting rid of some of my late Mom’s stuff. I found a few things in what my mom kept of my past. My LOOOOOONG ago past. It appears I did not write my first poem in 2008 or so. My first swing at creating what might be verse was in 2nd or 3rd Grade.

And, true to your present-day poet guy, this piece plays with rhyme the way a cat does a mouse, batting it around before knocking it off altogether. Plus has an abrupt, though so-Joe Hesch ending

Apparently I had to write about Creation:

First light was made.
Second sky and sea.
Third dry land and plant life all.
Fourth sun and moon and stars of light.
Fifth fishes and birds oh so bright.
Sixth beasts of earth and creeping things.
Seventh ….

I guess both creators rested on #7