Poem – Mountain of God

I have passed this way before.
I have seen these desert grains pass through
worn and bleeding fingers.
I slept beneath these trees
and I cried upon the boulders.
Yet I do not know where this is,
I do not know where I am.

The land becomes the sky as
the horizon falls away
and the stars become the
path I now walk.

With eyes closed I let go and wandered
until I stood at the foot of the mountain of God.

Poem – Word

The very moment you prepared for,
going through each detail,
emotions and movement,
finally finds you,
the actors in their place,
face to face with what has been consuming
your thoughts – and the words have left.

Poem – What is this Fire We Walk Within?

I don’t need words and pages
to explain the concept of hell –
just being human, just living
will teach you invaluable lessons,
will drag you through depths
testing and defining character
while breaking what you thought you know,
who you thought you were.

Hell is boundless and placeless –
stop for a moment while watching a version of yourself
repeat mistakes and moments, the outcome the same,
the soul that much more jaded with each pass.

Is that any way to live?
Is that what we were meant for?

What is this fire we walk within?
It is the experiences we ignore.
It is the respect we chose to forget.

Poem, for Earth Day

My breath from the trees.
My liquid from the oceans.
My feet upon the earth.

Each day, each second
should be in your honor.

Each task, each decision
should be in your image.

Through you we can attain peace.

Poem, by Mike Bieniek

The following untitled poem was written by my friend Mike Bieniek.


Moments are like trying to hold a summer breeze in your hands…

Your warmth, flowing hair, dancing eyes… where did you originate, near or far away?

Your smile… what direction did you first appear?

Your laughter… how long will you last?

Your comings and goings of what made you who you are today… where is your beginning, your end?

Your random thoughts… what secrets do you want to tell me?

You are young and have many places to experience… am I slowing you down from your travels?

Your radiant energy… thank you for your gentle nature.

Your aroma… thank you for waking me up, from my “not present” thoughts…

Your genuineness… because of you, my world… around me dances, sways… the blades of grass, the trees, the clouds, the birds… so alive! Or were they always like this and I am changed?

Your acknowledgement of everyone and thing… why do you believe in me so?

Let me just close my eyes… stop asking you these questions… and simply feel what I am supposed to feel, learn what I am supposed to learn, appreciate what I am supposed to appreciate… be, what I am supposed to be… with or without you…

…you cannot corral them forever. They will leave without hesitation – making way for the next one and the next one… Those moments will become memories… thank you for sharing yourself with me and allowing me to love you.

Dogs of Spring #1

Late afternoon walk in what feels and looks like late November instead of April. The puppies were happy to get outside and run through the woods. In this picture, Leroy is trying to figure out what Vinny is eating this time.

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Dinner from the ground

Poem – Pain

The night falls quickly
as the sun escapes the horizon
and reaches across the calm sea
to the shoreline where a lone
figure stands atop boulders.

There is no sound and no trees move.
In the absolute silence no words are spoken.

We can only guess the thoughts,
the circumstances that brought this
being here, that transpired through
time, actions, and experiences.

Will they ever speak?
Do they see the portal
reaching back in time,
arriving from the beginning?

Do they see there is more
out there and that we are
human and we all have pain?

If everything else is stripped away
and two people are standing side-by-side
they each feel, breath, have desires,
emotions, and each needs hope.

Why bring more pain upon us
when getting through each day is enough?

Words and Actions – Revisited for 04/18/15

Back in 2009, I had a short story published at Whispering Angel Books about my grandfather.  It was titled “Grandpa’s Words and Actions”.  As 04/18/15 was an important anniversary, I am re-posting, along with updates from reviewing each year,  and including it below.


Rugged facial features and expressions, like that of mountain men in history books and legends standing atop the highest peaks and planting a flag for their country, shaped by the endless sun and arctic winds. He handled life and the people around him with the ease and care of a seasoned glass maker. It was extremely difficult for me to believe that was my grandfather lying before me, thin, frail, a skeleton of his former self.

As a child four or five years old, my mother divorced and we moved into my grandparent’s home, where she grew up on main street. Now after a few years, looking back on how life brought me to today, I believe this was fate. The moment afforded a chance for my mother and me to develop a bond, not only as parent and child, but with my grandparents. These bonds would stand time and distance, coming to fruition upon my grandfather’s passing. Time has not softened the heart which still yearns to hear his voice and the raw, unpolished words.

On April 17th, I stood at the foot of grandfather’s bed with him resting comfortably back home in St. Anthony. I did not know at the time that these were my last few remaining moments with him to talk, listen, and learn more of his life. For a man who would pass away the next day, he was his old and inquisitive self. His dark chocolate round eyes piercing through me were soft, but looking for something. Perhaps they were trying to find closure in the last hours. His face still had the character and unique features from years back when I helped him paint a brown wooden fence. I remember the backyard that always had the smell of baked breads, waffling from the kitchen where grandma was busy. A tall apple tree stood in the middle year after year, providing fruit and color. The tree reminds me of him: rigid, set in his ways, stubborn and able to withstand and overcome any challenge. Like the tree surviving a harsh winter, he had gone through many hardships and trials, with dignity and courage that stayed with him to the very end. Through his years, he did so many things, large and small, that have contributed to who I am as a person today.

While living on main street and adjusting to a new life with my grandparents and mother, I had an obsession with au gratin potatoes. They were the only food I ever wanted; breakfast, lunch or dinner, whenever hunger pangs took over. If there was none to be found in the cupboards, grandfather would take my hand and with no questions asked, lead me out the front door, into the car and off to the local Snyder’s on Central Ave. This kind of gesture was etched into my memory as his way of showing he loved me, without having to say the words.

Many children grew up with a blanket, providing security and comfort at the most stressful times and I was no different. Wrapping my arms firmly around the vivid colors of Winnie the Pooh and his friends, I clung to the blanket all the time. My fingers deeply entrenched, cotton and thread entwined with skin. When it was lost and torn from me, I was crushed and devastated.

It was seven or eight in the evening while standing on the front porch, frightened, yet curious and fascinated by the flashing and noise. The night was alive with thunder clapping in the shrinking distance, flashes of light, the wind blowing hard through the trees, branches swaying. Caught off guard for a moment, a gust of wind ripped the blanket from my grasp. My security was torn from me, my heart beating faster and faster, as though it would fly through my chest and into the wind. Looking into the direction I thought it went, in between raindrops becoming more fierce and heavy, I kept the thought alive that it would come back and return to my open arms. It never did. Leaving me screaming and crying, my eyes welling up at the slightest thought or mention of the blanket, I was vulnerable and searching for anything to deal with this moment. Fortunately, there was comfort to be found: grandfather’s kind and soothing words calmed me down, further cementing this man as a father figure. Although the loss could not be fixed or changed, he was there for me. His kind words and encouragement also helped in many other ways.

I often built things with Lego, Constructs and Electra sets – typical toys of the early 1980s. These real-world things became reality as my imagination oozed into my fingers and assembled them, piece by piece: race cars with huge, spongy rubber tires and fast engines; cities of tall buildings and skyscrapers that reached for miles. Building these structures gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Standing in awe and knowing that the images became something concrete and useful. The expression on my face conveyed these feelings: my eyes were bulging with excitement and I would be smiling from ear to ear.

When I would finish a project, I would take it to my grandfather and he would look it over. His words “This is really good, you should be an engineer” pushed me to keep building and make the next one even better than the last. Encouraging words from this man became my motivation and heightened my desire to build more and seek his approval.

Christmas is a time for family and the chance to see the loved ones from near and far. I cannot remember the gift I received from grandma and grandpa that year as there were more important memories to take away and energies to focus upon. I cherished this last time to see him as he always was: the man of pride, character and dignity. Christmas also brought with it a lot of questions I needed answers to: reasons why, the purpose, that as a 17 year-old losing a part of me, could not comprehend and answer myself. How could this man of such strength and dignity be brought down by an illness, a life turned upside and spiraling so quickly?

In November of 1990, grandpa was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He had limited time left and we had limited time with him. Was I just losing a grandfather? It was much deeper and more profound than that. I was losing a friend, security, and someone deeply loved; who helped me to grow and become who I am today; a person close to my heart and soul, who loved with no questions asked and nothing expected in return. This man, who raised me while mom worked, was the essence of the early stages of my life, planting seeds and giving advice that burned into my consciousness. He showed me how to care for others and love my family and work hard for what I desired out of life. I guess that is why his death hit me so hard and impacted the way I think and go from day to day. My thoughts are always in motion and his presence always alive and guiding. I must strive in the present with the few chances that I have and utilize all opportunities that I am given.

It has been 24-years since grandpa’s passing, and not a day is without thoughts of him, or I come across a subtle reminder. I cannot forget the day when I last saw him and he looked into my eyes and tried to smile. I could see his pain and suffering coming to an end and finally becoming free. Some of the days when I am weakest and in need of help, I look towards the sky and thank the universe he is looking down upon me.

A guardian angel is that spirit of consciousness that makes an agonizing decision a bit easier, or a hand that turns you away from death. I received min on April 18th, 1991. My life, outlook, and place in humanity has only improved since that devastating day that has become a blessing. In this regard, a death can be a blessing, another chance to grow, that knock on the door that takes an effort to answer, and seize the gift staring back at you.

Poem – Reminiscent

As the months melt away
into weeks and days
the memories become stronger
bouncing from everywhere
fast and furious they
fill waking thoughts
and serve as a reminder
that reminiscing not only
keeps someone’s memory alive
but reminds you of the path
they created for you
of the person they believed you are.

Poem – Apathy

With an apathetic look in tired eyes
he turned away from the edge,
hundreds of feet above the turbulent
waters, and walked toward the forest,

across the empty road absent
of any traffic since the morning,
into the cultivated fields, curiously empty,
and sat next to the stone marker and finally wept.

Poem – Infinity

Removed from the city
even for an afternoon
layers of stress and blocks
fall away, replaced by what
the wind brings, what the
trees take, and what the animals
are willing to share.

How else to rebuild the soul
than to witness firsthand
the infinite cycle of nature,
of earth, of home?

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Poem – Authentic

I believe who we are
when our eyes first open
and light through half-drawn
blinds washes over our body,
we are true, we are authentic
and only through the chaos and fray
of each day do we become jaded
and lose touch with humanity.

Poem – Watching

The sleepy sun is just raising
one eye when we walk onto
the patio, one dog on each
arm, into the cold morning
with a thin layer of frost on
the ground and the apple tree.

Across the pond an oak tree
has emerged from its slumber
with a growing veil concealing
the noisy ravens watching every move.

Poem – Release

I awoke – from the ocean
pushed deep from the
waters weight I could
not breath, I could not move,
and I could not see outward,
but in my mind I swam
freely through images, and time,
experiences, regrets, and loss.

I held these close to my heart
to my fractured mind until I
became consumed, distracted, disconnected – lost.

Only when I released you
did I awake from the ocean.