Saturday, March 11, 2017

Empty Nest, Last Post, What’s Next and Whatnot and So-Forth

Empty Nest, Last Post, What’s Next and Whatnot and So-Forth

This blog has concluded. I will leave it open and continue to respond to comments, but there will be no further new entries after this one.

I welcome you to join me at my new WordPress site, HEPHAESTUS’ WASTE & COSMIC RUBBLE.

I began this blog as a quasi-anonymous space for me to remove the masks of my daily pretense and just be comfortable with my honest feelings, positive, negative, or otherwise. I had a job I hated where I had to wear an approachable smile though I was usually depressed. I had young, good, but energetic kids who often frustrated and amused me – and occasionally made me incredibly proud. I had a wife who I adored and who I assume adored me back, even as we bristled, accidentally rubbed each other the wrong way, and learned where we fit and how to champion one another. Through all that life, it was therapeutic to be able to retreat to my blog where I was free to say that my job sucked, my kids were being assholes, and my wife just doesn’t get me if that’s how I honestly felt. This blog even gave me the freedom to flip the mirror around and be honest with myself when I’m being a dick because let’s be honest; calling your kids assholes is a classic Barry-is-a-dick-move.

I was lucky enough to cultivate a community of supportive bloggers instead of the internet’s current default hypothetical setting of trolls telling me go kill myself or die in a fire. Many of them told me how hilarious and relatable my rants were. But then a funny thing happened; as my audience grew, I felt my voice shift from honest, gut-emptying ranting, to me constantly trying to top myself. I had to be edgier, funnier, punch harder to keep my audience entertained. Before I knew it, I had slipped on another mask, this time inside my blog. It stopped being fun, and became just another joyless chore. On more than one occasion, I considered nuking this blog and walking away. This also feels like right around the time that MySpace, and later Facebook and Twitter combined to make personal blogs look almost as dated as the telegraph and carrier pigeons.

I did a brief stint as a paid comedy blogger and later a paid sports blogger, but the comedian I worked with gave me bad vibes so our collaboration lasted 2-3 years before I pulled the plug, returning to this blog. It seemed like I was always retreating to this blog, and that was before I began sharing poetry here. (I’d go on about when I first began writing poetry in high school in the 80’s/90’s, but that’s another story.) This blog seemed like a natural delivery system for my poetic musings, and so its second life began. I soon cultivated a community of fellow poetry bloggers – brilliant, talented writers, every one of them – who encouraged and pushed me to dig deeper and sharpen my skills.

Which brings us to today, which seems like a fine, organic stopping-point. My kids are now adults, both left the nest recently. Erin and I are at a good place and still chase each other through the empty house. I hate my current job, but I learned how to leave work at work, so no big. I’m still battling depression and feelings of inadequacy, but the key words are “still battling”.

Mini-Dork (Danielle) is studying to become a nurse and works as a receptionist. I’m proud of her maturing into a caring, sensitive adult. It’s still weird having mature, nuanced, insightful conversations with her without mentioning reality TV show stars, but I can’t say I miss those “riveting” conversations about Bad Girl’s Club. I think after one such talk, I forgot how to do math for about 30 minutes.  

Yugio-Boy (Bobby) is a tire mechanic who also coaches and mentors kids at the Girls & Boys club. He expresses many interests right now, so it’s good that he’s a youngin. He still has time to craft his path forward. Who am I to rush him? Hell, I still don’t know what I wanna be when I grow up, and I’m 44. 

I continue to craft my poetry and observe my fellow poets. I noticed that the overwhelming majority of poetry blogs are on some form of WordPress scaffolding. After some cursory research, I found a recurring theme; apparently, bloggers who are serious about posting their own poetry and literature eventually make the switch from Blogger over to WordPress. Poets with addresses initially aren’t taken as seriously as poets with their own domain name*. I began to wonder if I was taking myself seriously, or if I was floating along whatever direction the wind was blowing. I still don’t yet have the answer for that, but this blog post, along with whatever comes of my new blog, represents me pushing more of my chips towards the center of the table.

Thanks for sticking with me for so long. I hope to see you all at my new site, HEPHAESTUS’ WASTE & COSMIC RUBBLE.

*Edited to add: Regarding my migration from Blogger to WordPress, I worded my explanation poorly. What I meant was that when people outside of poetry blog groups see, the assumption folks typically leap to is that these are spam-sites or abandoned blogs. 

I was not disparaging the content of Blogger poets at all. I happen to know many wonderful poets using blogspot domains that are absolutely serious and talented poets and writers.

Conversely, I know folks who bought hosted domains who don’t quite know what they want their voice to be yet (like me, for example.) I was just announcing that I’m ready to level-up and see exactly where I fit on this whole literary Internet thing.

Sorry for my poor communication skills. I'm working on it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tracing the River

Image source: By National Gallery of Art - National Gallery of Art, Public Domain,

Tracing the River

In my mind,
I sketch you daily in curves,
dainty angles, and
wrinkled-nose smiles
preceding giggles
you tried to withhold
from my light tickles.

I’m no good for you;
you know it, I think,
yet you seep into my seams,
you embrace me just right and
drink me in, negating
my barbs and poison.

You are so good for me it seems.

As we walked
the river trail, discussing
everything, nothing,
near the riverbed,
a thicket of birds
urgently sang their
hearts out, bursting.

I am quiet, still;
a tranquil stream of thought,
you pour me into your seams.
You embrace me just right and
drink me in, negating
my silent sadness.

You can hear my song, it seems.

** *

Written for dVerse Poets’ Have a Heart! St. Valentine’s Day prompt. Go here to read other poets’ contributions to this heartfelt prompt. (Yes, I can get pretty punny too.)

Monday, January 02, 2017

Observations of a Singular Lunacy

Image Source:

Observations of a Singular Lunacy

Love is a beautiful, delicate madness.
Certainly, I’m not the first to observe this,
but this is the first time that I’ve observed it
with such certainty, because I love you.

I love you with a fullness and fondness;
an acute completeness that defies reason.
I love you in fractures and totality;
your eddies and currents,
your movements in space,
each curious miracle of motion
within my sphere of vision and influence.

It is a thoroughly examined love
that scans your worldview,
earnestly questing the cracks where I fit.

It is a love that compels me
to lift the Cascades from your path
should you seek it, while admonishing me
to leave no blade of grass misplaced
or mar the sand with ruddy footprints,
so you can admire their simple beauty.

It is a love that wants to be your companion
but could also be concealed,
evaporated into vapor by sunlight
if you wish it so,
for I love you enough
to offer your greatest desire,
even if you desire for that love
to cease to exist within your presence.

How can a love
be selfish enough to envelope you,
but selfless enough to allow you cast it aside
should you seek a reality where
it isn’t welcome?

It is a feeling, an emotion,
a state of being best shared,
but surprisingly not necessarily so.
I tell you, it is madness, and delicate,
and a beautiful state of existence
that compels me to tell you
my observations.

I ask no action of you
upon knowing these things,
I only demand that you know them,
and know that I declare my truth

with absolute clarity.

My first poem of the year. No prompt. Figured I'd go with a freeform and a topic that I really enjoy. It just felt right. 

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Siren (It Just Happened)

Image source:

The Siren (It Just Happened)

Drizzling down, our mental clips, audibly molten
She swiveled her lovely hips, naughtily woven
Her curling enticing lips, haunting me, swollen
Thoughts masking my full eclipse, outta be motion
Between her thighs, I cannot hide wanton temptation
She saw my lies, my suppressed pride hiding elation
Stigma despised, I had to ride, recall my station
Wifey waitin’ at home; I can’t break the rules and roam

Now I’m driving out with all the symptoms shouting to switch
Suppressing all the signs surrounding seven-year-itch
Undressing the enzymes with pounding cranium twitch
Confessing all the crimes confounding me when I ditched
Staying suppressed in action, but thoughts betray dissatisfaction
Braying at the moon concealed, praying I’m not soon revealed
Relaying her appeal to the subconscious, driving my muscles
Replaying how it feels to suppress conscience, silencing trouble

Then it happened, blue and red lights piercing my darkness
Wailing siren, me losing sight, lost in the starkness
My reverie compelled me to subconsciously rebel
Pushing past the speed limit faster than I could foretell
License and registration demanded, I reached to get it handed-
*echos of hollow brass hitting the pavement, rolling to a stop*

“He’s not breathing. Shit.”
“Why did he resist?”
“Don’t sweat it, Jim. He was clearly a bad dude.”
“Yeah. Dude had tears in his eyes already.”
“Yeah, he was probably on crack or meth.”
“You see him bow-up to me? Aggressive, right?”
“Yeah… heh. Jamal here thought he was Luke Cage!”
“Another win for the good guys.”

“Yeah. Anytime we get home safe? That’s a win.”

Posted to dVerse Poets for Open Link Night, hosted by Grace. I was intrigued by last week's Meeting the Bar – Caravaggio and Chiaroscuro hosted by  Björn. Experimenting with contrasts to paint a vivid picture (light and dark, good and evil) seemed pretty intriguing to me, especially given all the horrible news about cats who look like me getting killed by so-called servants of the State for little to no reason. 

So yeah, I'm pretty blue these days. 

Go here to read other dVerse poets open link poems, and go here to read dVerse poets Meeting the Bar poems from last week. 

Monday, November 21, 2016


Image source:


Water vapor
Oxygenated calm
Cosmic vapor filling the void
That random jolt of lightening you’re feeling?
Breathe deep

Let it pass like rogue waves kissing your shores
Expel vile, destructive toxins
Release negative vibes
Feeling lighter

Now steady yourself
Begin again
** *

Written for dVerse Poets Quadrille #21 – Take a Breath. Go here to read other dVerse poets’ entries.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

Depart at Sea; A Part of Me

Image source:

Depart at Sea; A Part of Me

I call out your name
before the door frame
leading beyond horizon.
Your laugh rings my bells,
our path sings pastels,
speeding, we bond, love flies in.

Depart, a part of
a heart that bleeds love,
your strength, woven, our textile.
You looking at me;
a warm breeze at sea,
wavelength, motion; your next smile.

The briny sea air
behind me, we share
rewinding waves of blue sea.
The salt of your tears
exalting frontiers
refined sea spray that drew me.

With you, I’m unmoored;
renewed, unsecured.
Set sail, advance from the shore.
Your streamers alight;
our dreamers’ twilight,
serene, your glance I adore.
** *

Written for dVerse Poets, Meeting the Bar; The Alouette, hosted by the talented Gayle Walters Rose. Feel free to head over to dVerse and read about the form. It felt good to try assuming the structure of this form. It was a much-needed meditative experience, given how emotionally deflating this week has been (I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about.)

Go here to read other dVerse poets taking this form out for a spin. I’ve been reading them already for inspiration, and they’re all well-written.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Thirteen Facets of Evening Rainfall

Image source: PD-US,

Thirteen Facets of Evening Rainfall

The rain falls now
as a halfhearted afterthought
to the fading storm;
an indifferent setting
for life’s unenthusiastic

Evening sky is a
billowing, boiling, starless
severe tightly-wound fist
leaking rain remnants
through its cracks.

Moonlit-smeared charcoal features
lazily streaked by reluctant rainfall;
moonbeam slivers as
counter-tempo to the tempest’s
stark finale.

“Shhh!” whispers the rain in drizzles,
dampening boisterous laughter
of various groups
hustling to and from
various evening merriment.

Light refracted through languid raindrops
made neon theatre and lively pub signage
seem to pop and sizzle
with urgency and eclectic electricity.

The rain falls
it does not care
where it lands.

Pooling into tiny lakes
in the parking lot,
the rain is a mirror,
flipping the world upside-down,
revealing all illusions.

Rain strikes pavement
in hushed shockwaves;
it kisses skin
in rushed vibrations.
It flirts
among lovers.

They do not care
where they land;
compels raindrops
to cover lovers
tidal-locked in embrace
as if they were
but a single entity.

Rain saturates their hair,
slips between the cracks
of their pressed lips,
drops down their faces,
masking any trace of tears.

the rain
in drizzles,
the joyous sounds
of strangers,
leaving only
the sound of rain
their embrace.

The rain does not care.
Its silent roar will
fall upon them as
a single entity;
it will fall between them
after their inevitable
release and parting,
always masking the tears.

The rain is a looking glass,
revealing with frightening clarity
the fragility of who we really are.
** *

Written for dVerse Poets - Meeting the bar as a cubist poet. Björn is hosting and submitted a really good challenge. I don’t know if I did the challenge justice or not, but it got me out of my funk long enough to try something new! Head on over to the dVerse link if you want to learn more about cubism, which is not quite abstract, but similar, I guess? Bah! I suck at explaining poetry!

Also go here to read other dVerse poets’ cubism poems.

*Update 10/2/2016, 4:10am: I screwed up the link above due to sleep deprivation. I just corrected it.*