Learning to Lean Back on Living


Of gods and gravediggers and thunderbird wine

The first man I witnessed die
stepped too close to the white line
and bounced off three carloads
of excited tourists
returning from Disney World

A dull finish
on anonymous headlights

I was embarrassed for the body
of loose gravel, and bloody asphalt,
half covered by the unfamiliar
comfort of a blanket

Pupils fixed and dilated
blood swimming through the neck
lacking a heart to return to

In the warm night air
the aroma of ripe Florida fruit
mixed with magnolia blossoms

the transient’s last yawn
condensed on a stop sign
a mile down the road

where Tir, god of fatal accidents
and the gravedigger,
pass around a bottle
of thunderbird wine


Learning to Lean Back on Living now available in Amazon and Kindle


Learning to Lean Back on Living

Learning to Lean Back on Living now available on Amazon and Kindle


learning to Lean Back on Living is a journey of self-discovery providing new ways for self-reflection, and examining where we fit into the grand scheme. It’s an exploration of what it means to be authentic, looking in the mirror and loving to live in a momentary reflection of ourselves. The poems is this collection are lessons on leaning back and welcoming each day into your awareness, as you would your lover’s arms.



lay back,                     listen

water dripping

off leaves

each drop holding

the memory

of last night’s storm

sit back,                      relax,

welcome day

into your awareness

as you would your lovers arms

learning to lean back

on living

goes a long way

in letting each day

come to you

as it is meant to be

Places that Hold an Energy of Love

Drawing on observations in an oasis of words, John takes us to places that hold an energy of love with poems that speak to each reader with a message of hope and inspiration. In awe of the mystery of life the poet brings clarity to the heart and soul of what matters in our day to day, and provides comfort for those who need a friend, and a hug. You are invited to walk in your own garden, and look at all the wonder you have nurtured, a garden cared for reflecting the way you have beautifully tended the world around you.


The Walk To The Paradis Garden

Paradise Gardens are the places
that hold an energy of Love.

Having cultivated on your journey
to Paradise Garden
the art of nature’s caretaker
where gardens are a reflection
of what makes you human,
you bring to the enclosure you love
the qualities of the Gardener: curiosity,
tenacity, creativity, and a passion
for surrounding yourself with beauty.

You are the architect
not for just a frivolous endeavor
in a yard to play crochet
with stiff necked flamingos,
for it comes with it bites, scratches,
broken nails, stings, and sore knees
while seeding, cultivating, coaching life,
out of rows of knee & hand tilled soil,

It’s like make-up enhancing the beauty
of a woman’s face, and how wonderfully
you make it all part of you,
passionately so, reflecting your inner beauty.

You the protector
standing proudly in your alfresco,
glass of wine in hand, hose on hip,
systematically watering plant by plant,
ignoring any pending summer storm.

Nurturing denial, leaving nothing to chance,
you kybosh forecasts and the farmer’s almanac,
and have, absolutely, no use whatsoweather
for the unpredictability of the
Lake Chapala mountain air.

You are the water bearer,
sporting wellies in the rainy season,
sharing with your surroundings,
love and gratitude, the give and take
of nature’s energy that returns
you to a natural state of enjoying life,
and living in wellness.

Nurturing all the senses—a garden
reflects your words,
and your joy when you speak
to its allure—the plants
within your paradise
feel rain drops, wind,
an insect crossing over a leaf,
the sensual touch of your palm,
feel the shadow of a cloud
listlessly moving through their space
knowing all the while
they are one with the gardener.

You are the healer in your haven,
in lineage with Eden
in a Paradise enclosed in a garden
of timeless harmony,
where time is the high priest,
time its own measure,
patience the groom waiting
at the altar of an oasis of calm.

Paradise Gardens is your sanctuary
where everything around you
is of your making,
reminding you
to live in the present moment.


Places That Hold an Energy of Love, Now available on Amazon and Kindle.

Drawing on observations in an oasis of words, John takes us to places that hold an energy of love with poems that speak to each reader with a message of hope and inspiration. In awe of the mystery of life the poet brings clarity to the heart and soul of what matters in our day to day, and provides comfort for those who need a friend, and a hug. You are invited to walk in your own garden, and look at all the wonder you have nurtured, a garden cared for reflecting the way you have beautifully tended the world around you.

There are places
that hold an energy of Love

once planted there it never leaves.

You can come back to it
time and time again,

it’s like you’ve never been away.

There are precious spaces
where everything you see around
is of your making

The visual comes from a heart full
memory of that very day
love came into the space and stayed.

It’s in the breeze that gently
plays upon your skin,

and in the sound of silence,
where the music of Love begins.


KATS, KIDS, & KREATIVITY – from Kreativity



We Are Creatures Of Our Imagination

We are creatures of our imagination
an artistry requiring
pictures and words to express itself

thus we become artists and poets
of our inner child

We are not born silent,
nor are we with pen in hand

words to express
who we are
are given to us
through the gift of listening

We are not born in sight
nor with a brush in hand

the pictures we paint
reflections of who we are

through the gift of loving light


I want to paint a picture with words

for you to look upon in wonder
at the texture,
the composition,
the blending of content
with color and awe.

I want to write a poem
that you would want to frame
and hang on a wall.

Possibly crocheted or,
etched into a shellacked heart.

A poem that could be
engraved on a floor mat
welcoming you to my home.

The ultimate of course
would be my poem,
blended on black velvet
with a picture of Elvis.

Then again maybe a line or two
to be read at a morning meeting,
embossed on the top of a covey calendar.

I want to build something with words,
that makes you stop the car,
stand in wonder;
admiring the grace,
the majesty
the complexity of form and motion

where nothing stands still,
everything is moving in a dance
of vibrational energy.
If able, with the right word,
the perfect medium,
a stroke of the pen in a jive upon a page
that generates an emotional response,

A poem in color that states

what I intend

and you feel

Kats, Kids, & Kreativity – KIDS

This collection of poetry is divided into a trinity of themes about life with a clowder of felines, life as a single parent, life in a world of creativity, all-encompassing unconditional love, heartbreak, and the wonder of a loving relationship with the world we live in.


A few thoughts on being a single parent. Muddleheads in keeping with Grandparents Day was inspired by native American legends and stories about Grandmothers.




In legend there is a little spirit
called the Mouse Woman
and when your child is in trouble
she will always come to the rescue

begin there, today and tomorrow
setting mouse traps
as soft as your arms can hold
and bait them with years to come

You know that time is patient
You know that it is stalking
the body of your child
like a bad day dream
waiting for you to fall asleep
the heartaches and traumas
you can mend and put away
it’s squeezing love out of dark clouds –

but you know that

handing him over and over again
while you wait the distance
in the sterile corridors of your heart
while you watch for the slightest sign
that your child will always be
running home to your arms

the invisible nibbles away
at the little things that make us human

It is said, the Mouse Woman
has little patience with muddleheads,
but when your children are in trouble
the tiny spirit will come to their rescue

begin there
setting mouse traps
as soft as your arms can hold
and bait them with tears of joy




Kats, Kids, & Kreativity – new selection

Gourmet Tidbits vs Lizards

you want them to stay out of trouble,
but trouble’s their nom de guerre

you want them to lay off the birds & bugs,
settle for gourmet tidbits,
and the crème de la crème of scraps

and just when you think
you know what they want
its double trouble and lizards for lunch

curiosity it seems, is the name of the game

nothing that moves
or seems out of place
escapes their radar ears, saucer eyes,
and energizer sniffer

It’s just part of their nature,
to hunt down a sound,
stalk an invisible unknown something,
and bring home gifts you’d rather decline

you want them to stay out of trouble,
but troubles their nom de guerre

Kats, Kids, & Kreativity

John’s newest collection of poetry is divided into a trinity of themes about life with a clowder of felines, life as a single parent, life in a world of creativity, all-encompassing unconditional love, heartbreak, and the wonder of a loving relationship with the world we live in. The poems touch the heart, the mind, and the soul of who we are as imaginative and creative beings in love with kids and kats.

Available on Amazon and Kindle

A selection from KATS

Lament for a Raindrop

on an early morning walk
A raindrop the size of a palm,
in the drizzle of a morning shower,
fell into the loving hands of mi esposa,
and was carried home to become
part of our hearts delight.

here in the village cats and dogs
own the streets, the lucky ones,
on rooftops, behind walls, and doors
live in a less dangerous environment,
for the cobblestones streets, while having a
beauty of their own, are pitted and cratered;
a home where only the hardy survive.

Herein lies the quandary
for when you hold a pet in your heart,
as you must because that is who you are,
they become vulnerable, less fearful
from the love you give them—
the human touch has a way of
compromising the nature of the beast.

My neighbor’s dogs, who are not confined
to a loving space, and roam the street,
have killed two of our critters, who wandered
in curiosity onto the cobblestones.
What does one do across the great divide,
where life is but a simple “I’m sorry?”

Sadness is not a just a human touch,
for everything today,
the poinsettias in the garden—
here to celebrate the season,
the clouds shrouding the lake
have a pale about them.

Everything today,
feels a little less joyful
raindrops having turned to teardrops.





Gone Fishing

One more from newly published Gone Fishing

“There are only two ways to live your life:
one is as though nothing is a miracle,
and the other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Einstein


Cultivating your thoughts

every morning
faced with a blank slate;

memories indelibly erased,
scars scabbed, and fallen
leaving barely a trace

as if winter were permanent
and days having lost elasticity
accept the beauty
of just being whatever is

growing inside of me
the thoughts I have to attend to,
waiting in an untilled garden

to be cultivated,
churned inward
nurtured and watered

with appreciation

for the miracle

of everything I perceive

around me

Gone Fishing

‘Every once and awhile one needs to wrap themselves in forgiveness, and forgetfulness…it’s the only way to release the hook, lean into it, no resistance, no pulling away.’ From the first poem in Gone Fishing, the poet takes you on a journey where each verse meditates on an aspect of being human, living in the light and letting it go at that. This collection runs the gamut of relationships, spirituality, impermanence, and a romance with life, the poet asking if you believe in happy endings.

All That I Can Be

only ever one glass of wine
no matter how beautiful the pair might seem together,
each crafted individually exquisitely unique
engendered with a particular essence
a minion among snowflakes, crystals, stars

yet nothing about us
uniquely other than
one person, an individual cell,
a single being, being human
one body, one mind,
one soul of an old and scarly cat,
smugly contemplating tolerance

everything we love expresses how we feel
about this organ of water and air
this mind of matter and darkness
this exposed soul of a universal want
and need to plant the seed
that I am the earth

I live in light and love
I breathe my air
I admire the flower I am
that grows upon the earth I nurture
for as I churn from day to day
the wind I create caresses my body

I am the earth
I am all that I see,
all that I feel
all that I can be

if we were one light
how brilliant would we shine

the heavens would cease running away
and look back upon us
as the star over Bethlehem
or the light of Mecca

if we were one surface
monumentally varied and etched
with the wisdom of ages
what a beautiful color our skin would be
blinded by the light and sensitive to the touch

if we were one breathe
drawing in everything that has been
and will be, nurturing every pore of our being,
filling the valleys and rivers of our awareness
with an inner sigh of recognition.

that we are the earth

all that was and will be

all that we can see

is what we imagine love to be

Gone Fishing


gone fishing FRONT COVER FB1

Hello anybody and everbody; haven’t been fishing in Lake Chapala, Mexico, but have been knee deep in the waters of poetry and fiction. Four new books of poetry and a novel since I’ve last posted. Oh yes, two new rescued felines. I dropped the last blog; WordPress seems to have held on to the information – love them for it. I’m looking forward to visiting all the blogs I so much enjoyed. All healthy and productive I hope. New novel coming out in a week on Amazon and Kindle: As Far Away As Yesterday – more to follow. In the meantime Gone Fishing is available on Amazon and Kindle

Gone Fishing

every once and awhile

one needs

to wrap themselves

in forgiveness              and forgetfulness

blur the lines, blatantly indulge in life

without a hangover

of regret

of need

to justify the moment

it’s the only way

to release the hook

lean into it

no resistance

no pulling away




COMES A TIME – Then and Now

“What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one’s faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one’s memories.” – W. Somerset Maugham


Then & Now


It is approaching summer and a dead leaf lies in the wet grass visibly shaking in the wind, as if it had a season of splendor ahead of it to foliage in the stifling green of the Berkshires. Each day in New England trembles with the excitement of not knowing which way the wind blows, cold and damp or hot and humid. Here mold grows between the teeth of timber, and under the fingernails of anything that scratches above the surface of the firmament. I am here for whatever reason the universe is nudging me towards eternity, and I am thankful for the Innkeepers courtesy. Everything I do lends itself to everything I need to do, subconsciously, or in my face, to get to where I have always been moving towards.

Some days are better than others. This is not a frivolous axiom but a fact of passing through. If one travels down memory lane, those long stretches of highway, where nothing passes but the lines between oncoming trials and tribulations, and all of that that lingers momentarily in the rear view mirror; what should remain is those short breaths of life coming from a whisper of thank you. There is no need to shout or exclaim, for anything a decibel above silence is all that is needed to revel in the beauty of the moment.

Mi esposa waits on my journey south. When togetherness is but a week away, after a long journey through a winter apart, separation brings a sadness that needs only a sweet hello, a smile, an eye to eye understanding that longing is no longer a part of communication.

Behind me a blur of activity, dissolution and expectation sliding into a distant memory, the cork swollen and dry, never again needing to fit, for the bottle well received is graciously empty. Nothing left for the gods. The names of faces and places never forgotten, like the last drabs of winter’s snow wait on the curb ready to fall into the gutter and disappear down the drain. Three thousand miles later, the street sweepers brush away the remnants of a winter’s memory while a golden butterfly dances on the light of a brilliant bougainvillea.

Days now have names like Lunes, Viernes, Sabado and Domingo, and come and go at their own pace, in this place, now called home. A dominion of diamonds and dust where wealth buys you a view and more rooms then you’ll ever need to live in.

When the connection between then and now times out, it doesn’t really matter. Your mind refocuses on the immediate, dogs talk to one another and their barks echo across the mountains with the boom booms. There is a constant cluck and trill nullifying chatter, implanting the sheen of afterrain on the blossoms of a peaceful mind. Dawn has shifted from the alarming dark entrance into day’s hustle—the 5 a.m. lurch into insanity; to a subtle awareness, casually around 8 or 9; the gentle scraping at the bedroom door suggesting the cats want breakfast, roosters rolling their r’s wafting in chorus from the village below, a mist of light washing the dust from your eyes, an appreciation that life has for the moment in eternity, settled here on the shores of Lake Chapala.


There’s a seasonal thing

about this life we live

benchmarks that have a history,

quarterly objectives unmet and mastered,

a mile marker that you remember

in passing along the way.

good feelings ingrain themselves

at a very early age and never let go,

only, if only you enter laughing,

and somehow never let go

of the possibility, no matter

how slight the meaning,

of joy

for misery needs a definition

and wanting comes with loss.

There are blocks of life where life has left

holes in the garment I was born to wear.

years where the waves came crashing in,

and years where the sands tumbled into empty spaces

leaving gold nuggets and empty shells,

sucked into the undertow of subliminal anxiety

and fear of knowing,

into the comfort

of silence and forgetfulness.

nothing to hide,

nothing to remember,

the broom and dustpan of our memory

sweeping anything and everything

into the holes we create in our conscience

where all,

all thoughts and actions,

from the sublime to the inhumane,

can be forgiven.



















Comes A Time – In-Between Before and After

“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.” – Garrison Keillor


In-Between Before and After


I was floundering on, as usual, until she gave my soul a slap—well deserved at that. I dug myself out of the fiction of life and devoured the books on enlightenment she gave me to read. She wondered if I had the will power to see the light. It was all candlelight at first. Then slowly, over time, my mind’s eye adjusted to the sunlight that entered my life.

Maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t. I hit bottom and bounced back. I got a job with insurance. If that wasn’t bait enough to entice her to give it another go—I finally had a home for her to come back to. I was still dubious about whether angels actually existed, at least in my dimension. Until that is, I decided to quit smoking. I did it the hard way—lung cancer. And those new age guru quantum mystic holistic health specialists she turned me on to—maybe they helped, maybe they didn’t, but at least I’m not now working on re-incarnation therapy.

She was a reluctant angel, but she saved my life. Because of her I learned to listen. What baffles the body at times undermines the spirit. Yet the body-mind intention is ever clear. The essence of some sensibility so out of place, so foreign in a private space—was there—and wanted me to be aware. I had come to understand that what is received by one cell, entering the vast emptiness, is complete in every sense. Nothing enters the body and is not heard, and I heard the cancer deep in the dark recesses of my lung.

Everybody knows about the hole in the bucket. It’s where reality, the visible world on the other side of the plate glass window of your mind, slowly leaks into the emptiness of time and space. Until one day you find you have arrived in the here and now, and the bucket’s empty.

How was it that the illusion of happiness, the lingering smell of sweat and damp sheets, the cocoon of comfort wrapped around my brain, could, in the course of a conversation, over a cup of coffee, or sitting on the edge of the bed, turn into an aloneness, without substance, an accumulation of a lifetime of togetherness with nothing to hold onto. Waking to nobodies home anymore meant I was left with my own rewards.

She had told me it was never complicated—if you can’t cook, stay out of the kitchen. If you don’t love yourself, leave romance well enough alone. I had put her emails in a folder in my memory box along with the record album of the music we loved—it had a groove in it where the heartache began.

That was in-between before and after. The lung grew back nice and white like a nun’s wimple. I learned to cook and felt good about shaving the face in the mirror.


It’s Just a Story


It’s just a story. Albeit our story.

I’m not questioning it.

How far can you take it,

this syncopathic relationship?

This vibrational accompaniment?

A tumor grows in me, and so too with you.

Aware in empathetic wonderment

to the extreme possibly.

Awash in dawns’ subtle light

the trill of a mock of blue birds

through the open window,

a purr at the foot of the bed. 

What more needs to be said?

To share another day,

to be so awake in how love reaches out

and defines itself without words

is unquestionably our story

nothing unreasonable happens

and there you are

wandering around a room

full of memories.

good ones mind you,

for nothing should be carried forward

that does not shed a light

on the loving side of you











Comes A Time – Senescent Choices


“It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true.  As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.” –  George Sand


Senescent Choices


Life it seems is what I wake up with. All of a sudden it is today. Sure, I have a few aches and pains. Daily my body expands and flattens, my feet grow wider as I shrink. Not going gently into the night bits and pieces fall apart, are manufactured and left overnight on my nightstand. I am here, having journeyed a lifetime to get to where I have a need to step out of the picture, and elevate the consciousness of illusion in an endeavor to know myself.

We don’t travel on an unmarked road, however, it is possible to miss the milestones and signs along the way that provide choices. Sometimes we need to recollect what just happened along the route in order to make sense of it all. Sometimes oncoming decisions need to be made immediately without the opportunity to reflect, and if we don’t pay attention, the road may just come to a dead end having missed our cutoff. That’s where choice comes in. Cancer was a sign that said time to turn here.

A sexagenarian friend of mine is financially able to retire comfortably, but remains dedicated to pursuing a line of work he says all his previous working life has led him to. After an expensive divorce, a bout with cancer and lingering aftermath, an early golden handshake, and a gift card from the government for officially being old, you’d think it would be time to stop expanding in the universal scheme of things, whoadown, slow down, leave behind the rebound, spend time staying healthy doing the daily comealong, and not much more. Anything but back to work. Yet. Who knows where that road may lead?

I’m not saying that it’s ever time to stop. If you don’t use it, you know, it wears down from lack of friction with life, and rusts. Neuroscience research shows the brain’s biological growth reaches full maturity around age 25. If it did keep growing no one would be able to wear those ubiquitous baseball caps. Continuous higher learning and occupational attainment, on the other hand changes the brain and every experience brings on cognitive growth. Decision making, planning, relationships, the part of the brain that makes us human just keeps chucking along when we use it, for better or worse. H.L. Mencken’s observation that the older he grew, the more he distrusted the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom probably has some merit based on some of the curmudgeons I know. Older brains chock full of expert erudition relevant to a pursuit or passion when utilized for solving problems and coming up with solutions slows the mental aging process.

So who’s to say which is the better choice, keeping the pedal to the metal on the road you’re on, or taking the next turn to follow your dreams? No matter how long it takes there is an ending to everything. Is it possible that what we are after, after all, is an expression of self, and in that an understanding of what it is we are meant to do? All choices are worthy of consideration, or for what reason would we have to wonder, we have to question. I made the choice to follow my dream and take the exit heading for a quiet (sometimes) small village on the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico, and have no regrets. As John Barrymore put it: “man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”


Senior moments

gray cells synapsing

and disappearing into the ozone,

looking forever

for what’s right in

front of you.

in the ungluing of the universe

as you contemplate

the oneness of the world

the mindful exercise of being

in the moment,

goes beyond an ephemeral thought,

a shortness of breath,

and becomes reality

as we perceive it

a cocktail of awe and wonder

with an olive of doubt.


Available on Amazon



Comes A Time – P.E.W.S.



no longer capable of dividing but still alive and metabolically active


Available on Amazon



Notwithstanding the pickling and pruning of the average genarian the most widely seen cognitive change associated with aging is that of the Procedural, Episodic, Working, and Semantic memory. The functioning or lack of is uniquely personal and can be of some concern. Personally this memory/recall thing doesn’t really bother me until I think about it. If you live long enough all the closets in the upper house become cluttered with stuff you only go looking for when something or someone plants a seed, otherwise out of sight, out of mind.

I know I’m not alone when I leave my mind behind—climbing the stairs, entering a room going after something that, just an interminable second ago, was the most important priority, focus, quest on my agenda, only to return to the origin of the thought to re-enact what it might have been that I was after.

Perhaps it’s not that my motor skills are any less vibrant than when I was younger—I still remember how to ride a bike, it’s just that I’m not all that interested anymore in pedaling about, and I still could walk, talk and chew gum at the same time if it weren’t for my dentures. When it comes to how to do stuff I may have forgotten a few things, but now I know how to find it on YouTube or Wikihow.com.

Early grade school left me with just one off the top of my head episodic memory: the little old lady teaching grade 5 periodically zoning out and starting to take her clothes off in the front of the class, and someone always running to get a nun. Those mental tags about where, when and how information is picked up doesn’t sit out there on a garage sale table waiting to be plucked, they have to be searched for, and the search gets a little more interesting with the aging process.

Working at trying to manipulate the present is like trying to alter the past, and processing information is more work than the curmudgeon in me generally wants to deal with. Irritability comes on when decision making demands a perceived unreasonableness. I know if I pay attention I just might learn a thing or two, and if I’m lucky it will stick.

Seemingly patience has become my patron saint of forgetfulness. It allows me to abdicate responsibility in the land-of-forget-me-nots where grey-cells become the dandruff of should haves and oops, maybe, if only I had remembered what I … Sometimes it’s just lazy mind. With the esposa a walking Rolodex, I don’t really have to dig deep in the recesses of the skull for the names of people that I meet, and when searching for the meaning of things, Google has usurped my semantic memory, transferring recall from my cerebral cortex to my fingertips.

Do we really need to remember every name, place, event, taste, smell, song etc., why not take every new encounter as a surprise—a fresh face, a familiar but exotic smell, a subtle and refreshing taste, an exquisite moment, the feeling brought on by sound of the Moonlight Sonata. I have learned, and keep reminding myself, I need only to be the keeper of the world around me to relive the memory of all that I have known and cared for. I need to be joyful of memory and open to what comes along when it does, and when it does I’ll be seated in the first pew, knowing it will unfold in its own time at the altar of love.


Memory or no memory

just a question?

abdicating responsibility

in the land-of-forget-me-nots.

grey-cells become the dandruff

of should haves and oops,


if only I had remembered

what I ……

Everyone leaves his or her mind behind

when they climb the stairs

enter a room

go after something that,

just an interminable second ago,

was the most important priority,

focus, quest, on their agenda. 

The mind sometimes,

is peculiar to itself

and ignores your concern.

Nothing particular, has an age about it,

except what others perceive,

transform in their minds what is,

in their consideration,

what old should look like.

Weathered being the primary observation

linked to previous exposure.

Nothing sticks when whatever

the day brings is just the way it is,

for the older you get,

the harder you get.

The more a word, an innuendo,

a tone taken tips the balance

of pain and pleasure.

the older you get,

the softer you get,

Nothing noteworthy sticking to the surface

of what may be a good day turned sour.

just another way

of saying, been there,

done with that.


Comes A Time – A Coming of Age

A Coming of Age


As a certifiable Septuagenarian I now, on occasion, think about aging and growing old. I suppose it comes with the body politic. Never have liked the word “old” unless, as Francis Bacon remarked it appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

A 2009 Pew Research study indicated that the average respondent believed old age begins in the mid-sixties, and older as opposed to younger believed old age started at a much later point. That’s a no brainer. In a Daily Mail article, according to young Brits, old age starts at 52. I’ll have none of it. I knew someday if the good lord willing I might reach the seventh age of man described by Jacque in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It; as second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything…and all that didn’t sound too appealing to me.

Living in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts old was in; New Yorkers and Bostonians fought over decrepit chairs and 3 legged tables once buried in the dust of damp and moldy barns, on sale as priceless antiques of the not so ancient pilgrims. Malcolm Cowley in his book of personal essays, The View from Eighty he quotes an octogenarian friend “They tell you that you lose your mind when you grow older, but what they don’t tell you is that you won’t miss if very much.”

The word “old” needs a little help standing on its own, and it has nothing to do with canes and walkers, it’s the tags that follows it around like an old dog: old bag, old fogey, and old timer. I can relate to defining old as of former times, like days of old, having been aged for a comparatively long time, as in old brandy. My commanding officer in the Air Force was the old man, and that was acceptable. Unacceptable would be the terminology dating back to 1775 for wife or mother as the old lady. That might have worked for the founding fathers but politically incorrect today. Mi Esposa occasionally has to remind me “you’re getting old honey,” but that’s usually when certain parts of my anatomy won’t take no for an answer. The word aging on the other hand is the process of becoming older. In the narrow sense, the term refers to biological aging of human beings, and other living creatures.

Lewis Thomas writes in his book of essays The Fragile Species: “It is possible to say all sorts of good things about aging when you are talking about aging free of meddling diseases.  It is an absolutely unique stage of human life—the only stage in which one has both the freedom and the world’s blessing to look back and contemplate what has happened during one’s lifetime instead of pressing forward to new high deeds.”

Here’s the rub, things can and do go south in the process of aging: one thing after another goes wrong, and the cumulative impact of these failures is the image of aging. However, normal aging is not a disease at all, but a stage of living that cannot be averted or bypassed except in one way, nicely summed up by Maurice Chevalier; “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Nevertheless many regard aging as a slow death with everything going wrong. Florida Pier Scott-Maxwell, a playwright, author and psychologist, nearing her nineties wrote “When a new disability arrives, I look about me to see if death has come, and I call quietly, ‘Death, is that you? Are you there?’ and so far the disability has answered, ‘Don’t be silly. It’s me.”

When I finally did come to the awareness I was aging somewhat, I was encouraged by the latest discoveries in cell biology—my body, with a few exceptions has a makeover every 10 years or so with old cells discarded and new ones generated, the pace depending on the workload. Why I don’t act my physical age is because there are some ornery cells hanging in there from birth to death. My brain has mind of its own and doesn’t generate new neurons except in mediating the sense of smell, and where I remember faces and places. I’m not there yet, but I guess someday I could be referred to as an old fart.

Doris Lessing wrapped it all up for me when she said, “The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.” I want to think I’ve aged more like a gem of polished driftwood washed up on a white sandy shore rather than a gnarly old oak tree all bark, no bite.

Aging vacillates

between acceptance and intolerance

or is it that we reach a stage of gestation

where we just don’t care

to hold anything inside, anymore.


A stage of -agenarian development

where it’s not worth maintaining

a decorum of politeness

when it comes to natural functions;


expressing an opinion,

and of course flatulating.

Bodily functions have a humor all their own;

kids guffaw at farts,

women smile at fluffs,

and old farts just don’t give a damn.

Nobody talks about it. 

Everyone turns their head and ignores it. 

Life goes on.


On a given day, everything consumed,

is digested and then exuded.

It’s how books are written and read.

thoughts are shaped and spread,

how life absorbs creation

and is put to bed.




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Comes A Time – Comes a Time essay

Comes a Time


Comes a time, comes a time for dying when the shadow walks away. Up until it dawned on me in an evening of sunsets, it wasn’t anything I paid much attention to. Lacking an extended family to speak of, in half a century anyone who passed left me out of the equation. Everyone in my life came and went like two trains going in the opposite direction, a blur of faces in the windows.

I remember my first coffin. In grade 6 the nuns marched us out of class and across the street to Dwyer Funeral Home to say a meek little benediction over the body of someone they told us was important. To this day I cannot lie on my back with my hands folded over my chest. As an adult I avoided funerals as an end of life ceremony and preferred to remember the good things about the person I had known, that way they never really died on me.

My mother at 87 was the first personal close encounter with the reality that there really was the possibility I would end up in the proverbial dustbin. No open coffin though, cremation without ceremony was her option—she was heading straight for heaven. That was a lifetime ago. Since then aging has played games with the face in the mirror. And although I’m not particularly thrilled about having to end the journey I’m on, in the end the choice will be a foregone conclusion.

I do know that I have come full circle. In youth when everyday was sunrise and life engrossed all my senses, dying was a destiny I gave no thought to, and now having discarded time as irrelevant, reveling in the life that surrounds me, relegates death to just a likely possibility when the music stops playing. I can now reflect on the knowledge that dying is a part of living. Never so clear to me now that I live in a small Mexican village where it is an accepted part of daily life. For the first time I have been able to visit my neighbors coffin and remember him as he was and always will be in the hearts of those who passed his way. The familia celebración of el Abuelo brought tears to my eyes, not only for the sadness of those left behind, but for all the celebrations I missed thinking death was not something I cared to pay mind to.

The music I love no longer plays at the top of the charts, and the melodies that rattle in my morning mind are vinyl stages of life that began and ended like mile markers on the interstate. No matter how long it takes there is an ending to everything. Is it possible that what I was after, after all, was an expression of self, and that’s all I will leave behind? In the finale there could wellness be, the inauguration of the end of what I started out to do in the very beginning. I still cannot lie back with my hands folded over my chest, not for fear of dying, but because I want to reach out and hold on to everything.




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Comes a Time – Preface:


Wordsmithing is your take of the world that you hear and see. So for me it’s not difficult, what you see is what you get. As I grow older I just happen to choose a little lovin’. Not that I’ve not traversed the same wild rivers that most of us have to wade through, or climbed the mountains of time and sweat that seem to wait around every corner, where just when you think it’s clear sailing it’s “a why me Lord moment?” The beauty of life is sometimes you don’t have to think about breathing, it’s just part of the morning sunrise.

I’ve been a wordsmith puttering with words for a lifetime now, and I don’t have anything negative to say. Words wear the light in your eyes, or the fear in your soul, and every word spoken leaves a shadow long, neither right nor wrong. The ear that wears it hears what it wants, and owns it evermore.

We are creatures of our imagination requiring pictures and words to express what we imagine is reality, thus we become artists and poets or our inner child. We are not born silent, nor are we with pen in hand, and words to express who we are, are given to us through the gift of listening. Having glimpsed at how the old masters gave words to the way it is—the Tao of it, all I have come to understand is but an echo of all there ever was to be said. I only have the words to repeat what the universe has whispered in my ear, spoken with a virtuous breath not my own, for I borrow all that I am from all that has been and is.

I do know for certain that words have wings. A letter forms in the brain, a chain reaction originating in the heart, and is then trampled by a domain of thoughts

A word slips between two lips, rushes upon the universe in a wind of wonder and surprise. Something happens—the word becomes a butterfly of caring and sharing, leaving a blush on everything it touches, or it may have something sad to say, leaving everything in the world a touch darker.

Words damp down the clutter in my mind. They give sound meaning, set mood to the motion of my random thoughts, and give feeling and purpose to the world around me. Words are the foundation I balance on, and the ethereal limits I am bound by. Words rescue me from the silence of not knowing why. They make me laugh, make me cry, and are the lifeline to whatever ear or eye compliments my passing by.

Wordsmithing puts me in the conductor’s seat instead of being a passenger, even if no one’s on the train I’m riding. I can go places I’ve never been, and maybe never will be able to attend other than in my imagination. I can go places I’ve already been to, and remember just how human we all are.

Awake or asleep, clichés, metaphors, verbs and nouns rattle in my brain and I write because it drowns out the noise in my head. Wordsmithing; at times it’s work—a labor of the mind, at times it’s play—the wit of wordplay, the scrabble of words. At times it is just saying what has to be said: the pain, the sorrow, the happiness and joy of a life. Sometimes it’s just because I want to build something with words that makes you stop the car, step-out, stand in wonder admiring the grace, the majesty, the complexity of form and composition, where nothing stands still, everything imaginable is moving in a dance of vibrational energy.



Available on Amazon: $5.50


Comes a Time – Essays

Comes a Time

Essays & Poems on Aging

Comes a Time is a collection of poems and essays exploring the ageing process (senescence), and the attributes (essence) that make us who we fundamentally are. Digging deep at times into the “soul” of the substance of growing old, the reader is never too far from finding humor where time becomes a diminishing number of cells doubling. Dedicated to all the sexagenarians, septuagenarians, octogenarians, and nonagenarians, who are no longer capable of dividing but are still alive and metabolically active.

Published on Amazon 2017 $5.50



A Sacred Place

This will be my last posting from the recent collection Free To Be Me. I wish  to thank all the visitors who stopped by to read the poems, liked a few, and commented on some. I won’t be posting but on occasion as I am going on a sabbatical to work on my second novel. I am also going to take the luxury of time to visit all the sites I have been remiss in responding to with return visits.  Spring is here, time to sit in the garden and write.

Spring 2016

A sacred place

There is a sacred place for everyone including

you, where there are mountains in your rocking

chair time, and from where you sit you can see

as far as the spirit wanders and the eyes amaze.

A place for you where the sun remains anchored

to the universe, the world revolves and falls

backwards into the waiting arms of the full moon,

into a safe space, where your thoughts become one.

Where you can stand astride the earth, stretch

your arms to tether the polar caps and captain this

giant ball of atoms as it hurdles and spins through

matter, creating a wind of possibility combing your mind.

In this your sacred space, the sky envelops you.

You are part of all that you see, and in the distance

a silver horizon drawn on a white canvas, slowly

disappearing into canyons of your mind, searching deep

into your soul, where you become a part of every possibility.


the visible boundary is the luminescent aura

of all that surrounds you, where in the remnants

of rainbows you go gently embracing your spirit,

letting yourself believe in you.

FREE TO BE ME Free To Be Me. Available on Amazon & Kindle

Li Erh

You deserve the best that life can offer, and you must begin to do for you. Visualize it. Taste it. Feel it. And most of all believe that what you are looking for is waiting on the other side of the door, and through it effortlessly, you will slide.

Li Erh

even through the eyes,

the medium of an evenow

master, in awe of which

I am humbled, a ray of light shines

through denseness of it all, after thought occurred.

Having glimpsed at how the old master

gave words to the way it is,

the Tao of it, or should be,

all I have come to understand is

but an echo of all there ever was to be said.

I only have the words

to repeat what the universe

has whispered in my ear,

spoken with a virtuous breath not my own,

for I borrow all that I am

from all that has been and is.

From the unseeded, the silent delivery of a word

comes forth out of nowhere, to say nothing

that hasn’t already been said

excuse me for repeating myself

each of us is given a voice to turn a particular phrase

over and over again

to say what has to be said

until someone hears the truth of it


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What Would Lao Tse Say?

No one knows her for other than who she is, when what she does, authentically pursuing her journey comes from a fire in her belly and a peace of mind. She stepped out of the shadows and into the light—everybody recognized, everybody understood. It was no illusion, light entered the butterfly and she became visible.

What would Lao Tse say?

It arrived one day out of nowhere

we imagined, beyond hope,

a prayer and a promise and, a possibility.

Was it a message?

Something we needed to look at and listen too?

It would never have arrived otherwise, or would it?

It spoke of nothing ever happening that wasn’t meant to be,

or did it? Is that the message?

What is the universe telling us?

Why did the package arrive one day on our doorstep

out of the blue: To Me       From You?

What would Lao Tse say of this? 

It was meant to be.

Even if the sender, seemingly, not personally involved

sent the package on its way,

who are we to say it wasn’t other than direct mail,

insured to arrive someday, somewhere

deliberate some would say,

as it should be.

But why? One day

out of somewhere,

a gift of meaning

connecting us with where we want to be.


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Waiting On Your Understanding


You are up to this momentary struggle and strife, this daunting challenge of your changing life. You are whole, you are focused, you are here and happy doing nothing more than something that gives you joy, and brings you peace of mind.

Waiting On Your Understanding

darkness cannot be

your absence from light

for light is the essence of who you are

it is for you to shine

if darkness is how you see yourself

it is you closing the windows

and pulling the drapes

you cast no shadow

you are brilliant in a world

where words have no meaning

you wear dark,

your obsidian eyes turn inward

they speak of pain, sadness

and hopelessness

it is the absence of believing in you

but your light still shines

the ember of your eternal energy

is only waiting

 on your understanding


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Walk In Your Own Garden

Of what you say and think, always take care, for your words and thoughts have wings. They can drag you into a place of despair, or lift you up, to a better space than here.

Walk in Your Own Garden

looking in all the wrong places

for a cause to cure,

ailments to alleviate,

remedies for worries surmised

yet o-so-real

the dark side of grace manifests

in a physical confusion,

crowd thoughts, dampens the spirit

and fogs the mind

we all build fences

around the gardens we grow

we all ignore beauty

surrounding us

giftedly displaying

the inner peace

we have cultivated

walk in your own garden

look at all the wonder

you have nurtured

it is a garden cared for

reflecting the way

you have beautifully tended

the world around you


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Today Is The Day

Knowing that what you resist will always persist, do not avoid the issues that confront you, for they will always be waiting in the shadows you have yet to leave behind.

Today is the day

understanding stands by the doorway of a quantum leap,

apprehension, the Maitre’D of age holds the key

on the other side of the door

there is no more than can be imagined

transcending thoughts transforming notions of possibility

awaiting your creation

this day has always been waiting for you to arrive

alive with the love and potential energy you bring to it

waiting patiently on your awareness

waiting for your creation

waiting on what you want it to be

a thing of beauty, a thing grace

today as every day the sunrise and the sunset

are bookends for the stories you create:

the birthright, the toddlers stand,

the child within, and the urge to mate,

the maturing of existence knocking at the gate

the same story, over and over again

each volume, a day in the life

of all there is and all there will be

So choose this day the words you speak

you would say to a loving you

and the people that you meet

will only hear you say I love you and I care

no matter how fast seems the hustle of our lives

dawn approaches as if a butterfly

evolving moment by moment at the speed of light

it is never too late to step outside yourself

and experience the world around you

that’s what it is there for

waiting on your awakening


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Aligned With The Light

Believe you can make a difference, knowing you are not the savior of this world. Be aware that if you delay any longer in making positive moves you will deplete your energy. You will no longer be able to walk through the door your angels hold open for you.

Aligned with the light


Your heart, your body, your mind,

all aligned with the light,

vibrating in a dance with the universe

living in understanding and awareness

in the shadow spaces, the empty voidless macro

of each and every loving cell of you

the separation between you and all you envision

imaginary places filled with loving grace

So, why are you standing still?

What hinders the natural flow of this life of yours lived?

What don’t you know?

Where does one turn to when the past and the future

just won’t let go?



or do we already know

and it is only to remember

Old patterns are footsteps that waves don’t wash away


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No One Is To Blame

When the chaos of the moment clutters and clouds your mind, and the choices that confound you are fogged by the choices left behind, center and embrace the stillness in order to find inside what it is that you need to do, and what you need to change about yourself.

No one is to blame

It’s what you can’t see

the visible outside awareness

threads that hold the material together:

Faith, Trust, Belief in other,

the fabric of the quilt of warmth and caring

in the sharing of a moment in a lifetime

Somewhere deep inside you there resides and remains

everything you have lived with, everything you contain

It’s your genetic code for all you have to do

in order to sustain momentum,

living out, completing,

and satisfying your creation

given no more than a name to a journey,

on a path blinded by the light,

through darkness traversing alone

a journey of loving each and every solitude,

and convoluted refrain,

as if it were an only lifetime

Everyone you loved,

the stars in the universal game,

are simply what it’s all about,

and no one is to blame.


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Places That Hold An Energy Of Love

There is no going back, only inward, where a child is waiting on her embrace of all that is possible believing in the wonder of play. Absorbed in the dance of life her voice rose in chorus with a single refrain. The words she sang—I’m okay! From her belly, laughter took flight on the wings of a butterfly.

Places that hold an energy of Love

There are places that hold an energy of Love

once planted there it never leaves.

You can come back to it time and time again,

it’s like you’ve never been away.

There are precious spaces

where everything you see around

is of your making.

The visual comes from the heart.

The sensation of moment,

a memory of that very day

Love came into the space and stayed.

It’s in the breeze that gently

plays upon your skin,

and in the sound of silence,

where the music of Love begins.


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No Matter How Long It Takes

Nobody knows her like she knows herself. In the silent awareness of her inner beauty, it is her voice she will hear loudly and crystal clear. “I am all that I am, all that I can be. Being true to myself I am everything I believe in. When a butterfly comes to rest, it points the way to an understanding of oneself.

No matter how long it takes

there is an ending

to everything.

Is it possible

that what we are after,

after all,

is an expression of self

and in that,

an understanding

of what it is we are meant to do?

All questions are worthy of answers,

or for what reason

would we have to wonder,

we have to question.

In the finale

there could wellness be,

the inauguration of the end

of what we started out to do

in the very beginning.

speaking for myself of course

a lifetime is enough

to know what one has to do

and whether a minute, or a mile

the time it takes

is as far as you will go.

so what you do

with who you are

is what,

without question

you are meant to do

in the time,

that you choose to consider,

and the space

you think you occupy.


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Listening, Truly Listening

Pulling the curtains aside and raising the window, the glint in her eye, the smile on her face reflected a world full of beauty and grace. In her reflection she sees the possibility, blissfully aware of no more perfect place. Light winged and trusting, a butterfly comes to rest upon her palm.

Listening, truly listening, to every note

every breath of passion exhaled

every concern inhaled

every plea to hear me

coming at you

in a moment of contemplation,

a situation or consternation,

every note on the ivories

one can imagine face to face.

How much really gets through

the static of the mind?

I for one am forever turning

and tuning the dial,

trying to hear through

the crackle and fog

what I need to hear.

And I for one

am ever seeking silence,

for the message

to come through.

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