I remember that it snowed that day. Don’t you remember?
I remember it was on a Monday in December.
I remember I picked you up at a half past three,
     and you were waiting by that old maple tree.
I remember the wind was blowing rather strong,
     and I had you waiting out there far too long.
I remember you thought you should have stayed in bed,
     but came out with that horrible cold instead.
I remember we had some dinner, we saw a show,
     and we made some snow angels in the snow.
I remember I drove you straight home to get some rest
     and offered to rub some Vicks® on your chest.
I remember we finally got there a bit after nine,
     and I remember you said you had a really good time.
I remember we chatted briefly while it snowed
     and we listened to music on the radio.
I remember the announcer broke in with some bad news,
     and that shroud of sadness covered you.
I remember. Don’t you remember how you cried
     that night we heard that John Lennon had died?


© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 29: “I Remember…”



Every child learns the rule,
and at least once by painful hands on
experience. So un-cool.
But yes, we came to know that hot
was extremely un-cool. I still have a scar to prove it!


Respect came in various lessons,
and messin’ with Ma was one learned early.
The old man went squirrelly when we dissed
his missus. He truly went nuts,
no ifs ands or buts.


Another respect in the same regard.
Sometimes it was hard to ignore
a sassy kid sister. But our Father mister,
would forget his rule when fueled by shots
and beers. My greatest childhood fear.


He called me sonny and it was funny
when he’s follow up with this admission.
“You’re not that bright!” he’d tease
although it pleased me to know I was
what he called the “sharpest tool in his shed”


Speaking of tools, I couldn’t get it through my head
that his tools were his trade and it made him mad
when I had used his implements.
He’d get bent out of shape and went ape
sure as I tell you. But he knew…


…that I had an affinity for fixing things
just as he had all his life. So the new rule was this:
If you use it, put it where you found it!
A lesson ground into my head from the start.
It didn’t take long to take it to heart.


As my skills sharpened he showed me
the power of his power tools. Respect.
And when using his table saw, his bromide
was remembered with pride. Measure it twice
and cut once. Or was that…?


Cirrhosis of the liver came with much sadness.
And regret. Too many angry tirades on payday,
always a way to display his dominance.
But the prominence of that disease did not please.
The truthful answer was it had developed into liver cancer.


Tuesday afternoon lunch with Dad was an hour
in his confessional. His lament sent pangs deep
and I’d keep quite as he said his litany of faults.
Two Walts in contemplation; a revelation in the same
name. He wasn’t as bad as he’d claim


When Mom had passed, his was the last name she called.
It galled him that at the end there was nothing he could do.
He knew he could have been more attentive, even if it meant
he had to bury his machismo deeper. He’d say, “Mom was a keeper”
But he wished he did enough to prove it.


We never wanted for anything knowing
if we didn’t have it, we probably didn’t need it.
We had stylish clothes and kept our noses clean.
Food on the table, a roof over our heads,
warm beds… he did ok by us, he couldn’t be any better.


They say the test of a man is in knowing his limitations
and admitting when he was wrong. His apology to us
was as heartfelt as any rule or lesson he could have taught.
And by doing so, brought us to understand.
our Father was one hell of a man!


Another Tuesday, he in the throes of chemo.
“How are you doing, Pop?”
“Sonny, I’m dying!” The reality slap.
“But, you know what?” he say,
“I don’t know why I call you Sonny!”


Here was a good man with admitted faults
and a vault full of knowledge he had passed
to my five siblings and me. And when all
was said and done, he had just one more thing to say.
“I love you”. And that was the most important thing!

…and then he didn’t say anything more.
He didn’t need to.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge – Day #28: “Important ___________”



They did live happily ever after. It always seemed that every happily ever after starts with once upon a time. Poets with hearts of gold live the fairy tale writing without fail to assail what lives in these hearts through their rhyme. Banners unfurled, riding to rescue muses held captive in the unreachable tower of a strangled mind, to vanquish villains of verses left undone – all battles won by the surgical strokes of his pen. O’er hill and stream, though valley and dale – poets usually prevail, leaving marks on pages all their own. A rhyming jester upon his steed, his ink bleeds across his virgin page until all sage words have wreaked havoc on its pristine papyrus. It certainly could be worse, but it is his verbal scimitar that he wields with such aplomb. His heart would in all ways find the word or phrase to fill his days with verse. In a far away land, a simple man of expressive heart and gilded tongue had begun on a quest to say with that heart all that his eyes refused to see. Once upon a time…

A hero of words
searches for beauty within.
And so it begins…

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day #28: “Backward Story”


Somewhere in darkness, hearts at rest find each other all alone at night.
 Hearts that yearn for love become the vessels we sail to land on love’s shore.
 Discoveries made invade like a conqueror, surrender your self.
 New sensations come filling your soul with wonder, under true love’s spell.
 Tell her she brings light to supplant all this darkness; her candle burns bright.
 It is that dark night that brings her brilliance to bear. She is your warm sun.
 You embrace her there, filling her with heartfelt joy. You are her bright moon!
 Soon darkness will fade. Life’s serenade plays within. Come sing life’s love song!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

**Written entirely with Monoku – one line haiku / senryu

NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day #27: “Long Lines”


What’s the difference?
Running to or running from,
the shortest distance between two points
is still an escape in any book.
Separating oneself from the fray
plays upon your angst and ire.
This poetic fire in your belly
leaves a smelly taste in your mouth
and there’s no way out except up.
Corsica has sent her eviction notice;
malcontents are not welcomed!
So remove your hand from your waist-coat
and smoat the day you decided
your muse was more important than the process.
A beg of forgiveness and a sharp wrist slap,
every mishap screams for release.
Exile is as puerile as you may not have imagined.
Standing on the periphery serves no purpose.
Escape from your ego.
Take off to your refuge.
It is the textbook “No Lose” scenario
written for a poetic Lothario!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge – Day #27: “Take off”


“Do you know the way to San Jose?”
          “That is a good question that you ask!”
“I’ve been driving all night, but I’ve lost my way!”
          “It surely seems a daunting task.”
“Thank God, I brought a full hip flask.

        “Maybe I could ride with you?”
“The company might be good, that’s true!”
          “I could talk while you would drive”
“And I’d stay awake the whole way through!”
          “A darn good way to stay alive!”


(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2016

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day #26: “Call and Response”

**The form is something I call a “Dialogue Dizain”. Ten line “conversation” between two people. Rhyme scheme: a-b-a-b-b-c-c-d-c-d


I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I could teach my feet to fly

~”I Wish I Had a River” – Joni Mitchell

Escape becomes the journey,
minds ever-yearning to be free.
It’s easy to see solutions

when far and away they lay,
and the day we get our way will stay
in memory, burnt and charred.

It’s in the cards offering a chance to take off,
a chance to handle any dance
that moves your feet nearer to where

thoughts are clearer and hearts
are strong enough to stay grounded.
You’d wish rivers could carry your feet

to places where faces and races
hold no sway, you could surely skate all day;
but mercury shoes never take flight,

and light strides hide your tracks.
You’ll be back when the river flows.
You’ll wish it would bring you home!

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge – Day #27: “Take Off”


Again I am left to my own devices,
it’s been nice (as nice can be), but I see
you fading in the distance. This chance
to be free and explore was more than an escape.
It has been a discovery of self and this passion.
I cannot fashion myself after just any blathering fool.
If I drool, it will be on me, my own doing; pursuing poetry
is where my heart always leads. It bleeds chapter and verse,
and I’m no worse for wear. But there in the thicket,
the shadow of solitude explodes across the landscape.
I am free to be me and write the words by which
I am known. Fully grown and sown upon fallow pages.
Your sage inspiration has been the station in which
I await the express train to take me home.
I love you, Alice B. Toklas.
But, It’s time for me to take off! Goodbye.

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge – Day #27: “Take off”


He stood on the front porch with morning as a new promise.
The mist of dew’s bated breath hung above the grass
as sips of his molten brew stimulated his heart.

This was the part that took the most out of him,
for he knew the feeling that was still asleep
and could not be awakened or aroused easily.

Looking out, he saw the tendrils of light lifting
over the distant ridge, a bridge between dreams
and heartbreak – and he aches a little with each

rise of his chest. He was a mess, and he knew it.
If he could eschew these thoughts he would,
but he also knew it would do no good.

The brilliance of the emerging sun possessed him
as much as her bright light held his passion.
It would keep from crashing down around him

and the memory of her flame fortified
the fire that burned warmly in his heart.
It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

The birds too were awakening, and there was no mistaking
their song. It was a strong prelude on this multi-hued
morn. It was born of love and hope, and he could cope

with whatever the day wrought. It ought to be good.
He would sip again and savor the flavor of lips
once pressed against this same cup, an interruption

most welcomed and desired. Again it stoked the fire.
A deep breath filled his lungs and he held it in,
recalling the scent of her as the same fresh

and exhilarating sniff. It was as if she was standing there
against his scarred shoulder, drawing her strength
from his worn and tired physique. But his psyche

needed mending because it was sending these signals
of glad sadness. An unbalanced madness festered
in love and disdain, an old refrain they had reconciled

years earlier. And in it, he just got more assured.
It was pure, these feelings, melancholy as they were,
for it was her who had saved him. It was her whim that

resurrected him; it protected him in ways he thought
no one ever could or would, but she did.
She hid it well, much the same as the rabbits that pocked

the field across the way when they came out to play.
Their furry tenderness blended in well to stave off this hell
that festered and pestered his heart. She loved their

timidity and guarded adventurism, they explored
the way her heart had searched for its mate.
Guarded and tentative, a preventative to heartache

and breakage. She had staked everything by offering
her smiles and womanly wiles to his dark and brooding
moods. She became the sunshine that bathed his face

and lifted his spirits, and her voice as he’d hear it
in the trill of the sparrows at play. It was their Anniversary day. A day when distant hearts are perfected

and reflect on lasting connections offered in breaths and sighs,
sunlit skies. Birds heard in the songs that lived within.
That silly grin when the bunnies leaped and danced,

and she had pranced through his life unabashed
and confident. She knew what it meant to be loved.
Cup nearly drained and a faint sound approaching

encroaching on this solitude, but not intruding.
He heard the door’s creaking yawn and his eyes were drawn
to the vision that graced him. Her face was angelic,

her blonde hair thick and disheveled; a devilish look in her eye.
She offered another shot from the bottom of the pot;
a new cup with a bright red heart right below where

his lips kissed. In the morning mist they were complete.
She had re-awakened to his new day. He had nothing left to say
but a deep “good morning” and he watched her yawning arms

stretch to hug the world. His girl never strayed. She stayed.
Reminders notwithstanding, she had been quietly demanding
his attention, not to mention his love, for above all else, he did.

He loved her more each day.
And today was their Anniversary day!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge – Day 26: “Love Poem”


He saw her at the beach,
lovely and lanky was she

and with a style that outshone

every summer sun ever seen.

Her voice was quite hypnotic;

his thoughts of her were quixotic.

That memory always brings him back. 

Alone, he comes to stand

there on the very sand

where they had first made love.

But now, that love has gone.
Love must move on!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016
Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge – Day #26: “Anti-Love”