UNCLE FRANK HAD A LIMP

I knew him in his later years,
amidst fears of this craggy old-man
with the pronounced limp.
I had no knock against the man,
even though he tried prodding me into it.
“Knock on my leg!” he’d harass me,
and it would embarrass me to shy away.
He’d rap his knuckles against his shin.
The sound stayed with me. Knock on wood!
***
Old photographs of my grandmother
and her siblings emerge and a surge of
a phantom spasm rose up my right leg.
Uncle Frank and his dog in frame,
five legs and a wooden pole.
Legends find their truth; even in family re-telling.
Frank always explored the railroad tracks
that ran behind the house. Against all warning,
one morning they found a delirious Frank pleading,
bleeding profusely from his severed appendage.
On the flatbed of the family truck he was carted,
as he started begging his father not to punish.
My great-grandfather asked one question:
“After disobeying me, will you do it again?”
A lesson learned at a great price.
The resounding of knuckles against
a wooden prosthetic was punishment enough.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik

Poetic Asides 2017 April PAD – Day 13: Family

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NINE MINUTES

You come and stay for hours,
amidst the psychedelic flowers
and impossible scenarios.
Running past streets and barrios
with Joses and Marios, looking
for solace in a nightful of frightful
turns and plot twists. You’ve wished you
can finish a complete thought,
but your REM cycle keeps running out of gas.
In the foggy distance, a wail. It never fails.
It seems just when you get
to the good part of your dreams you have to depart,
trying to restart every nine minutes for an hour
until your snooze alarm comes back to call.

BAT OUT OF HELL

Gone are the days where we played
for hours and hours, skinning knees
and trampling flowers, thinking
our futures were an eternity away.

Not steeped in naivete, I’d say
we lived in the moment, and a moment
lasted a lifetime back then.
We made our friends (lost a few)

and you knew they had your back
when it was up against the wall.
All-in-all a great situation
passed down through generations.

We never noticed we were aging,
staging ourselves for our parent’s roles,
loving souls who supported and protected
and never rejected any idea as bad.

They had their flaws, but they were ours,
and that mantle came faster than we expected.
People passed; we were blessed to have been
in their realm of love. And above all that,

we were given the opportunity to grow in unity
and share life’s pleasures. And sorrows.
All our tomorrows are borrowed; gone too fast.
The death knell for a bat out of hell!

© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik – 2013

Inspired by POETIC ASIDES – Day 17 (“Express” Poem)

THE STORM WE LIVE

Caught in the cross hairs of fate,
in the eye of the storm we live on.

Winds destroy and water washes,
in the eye of the storm we live on.

Danger in the swell of torrents,
in the eye of the storm we live. On

the gasp of collective breaths held,
in the eye of the storm we live on.

Semantics makes it no less severe
in the eye of the storm. We live on!

Copyright © – Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

(A found poem)

I’ve been mad for fucking years;
been over the edge working me buns off…
I know, I’ve been mad like most of us
(even if you’re not mad…)

All you touch and all you see,
a race toward an early grave
is all your life will ever be.
Waiting for someone

or something to show you the way.
You are young; life is long.
There is time to kill today,
plans that either come to naught,

or are half a page of scribbled lines.
Hanging on in quiet desperation,
it came as a heavy blow,
yelling and screaming and telling him

“Grab that cash with both hands”.
It is the root of all evil,
but we sorted the matter out.
I was really drunk at the time!

“Listen son, don’t give me that do goody good
bullshit”, said the man with the gun,
God only knows it’s not what we choose,
but which is which and who is who?

There’s room for you inside;
only a difference of opinion.
Good manners don’t cost nothin, eh?
Got to keep the loonies on the path

And if with dark forebodings
your head explodes, raise the blade.
Make the change. Lock the door and
throw away the key. The old man died.

All you hate,
all you distrust,
all that you deal
beg, borrow or steal…

There is no dark side of the moon!
It’s really a matter of fact it’s all dark.

***The poem was culled from the lyrics of the songs on the Pink Floyd album by the same name.

FEBRUARY 3, 1956 – 10:42 A.M.

I was in no position to be born,
in the breech; feet first, a fresh “face”
coming to the fore on that frozen February morn.
Until then, my days on earth up to the day of my birth
were a placid float, suspended in muted serenity.
But, the anguish of my poor mother would serve
to provide shocks to propel me into action,
gaining traction in this field of my amniotic shield;
a permeable hideaway of liquidity.
But damn the masked man in white, he startles me;
a sharp slap sets my ass to flame and a tearful wail to my lips.

 

Written for THE SUNDAY WHIRL – Wordle #41

THE CALL

“Dad’s got cancer.”
Words as lifeless as I felt at that moment.
My sister, Daddy’s baby girl, her voice
shaken from its confidence.
And I in exile deteriorating in my own
self-absorbtion, choking on words so harsh.
And words so healing; a feeling of redemption
in my reply. Wiping an eye or two,
and through with my vitriol; back in control
of the emotions so frayed. Four months
were all that were afforded me. It awarded
me a chance to reconcile for the while he had.
Two Walts contrasted; reunited while Dad lasted.

LOSING HIS GRIP

Their foundation had crumbled into a pile of stones;
their gate was bent and rusted. She had trusted
him to rebuild the barrier; to rebuild their lives.
He had forgotten how demanding she could be.
She was once a bubbling fountain of emotion
that set his heart fluttering like the flash of a thousand
diamond stars through the thatched roof.
But she had lost her spark.
The hearth within her had ceased to glow.
And as he continued to grope at her throat,
her breathing had ceased as well.

Written to include the words: thatched, bubbling, forgotten, gate, fluttering, hearth, breathing, stones, thousands, flash, rebuild and grope – for Wordle # 38 at The Sunday Whirl

LOVE STORY


Monday comes along, rainy.
Gloomy and overcast and all past
indiscretions overwhelm. At the helm
of the mastship, safely docked
in the harbor secure and warm, nestled.
Settled in from a long night’s journey
and yearning for a good and proper
good morning. No storm warning
is signaled, for danger does not prevail.
I set sail in your tranquil waters,
making my own waves come alive.
Passions churning, turning for port
time and again. Wrapped in the comfort
of a loving shore. The more the ship rocks
the more at peace we become.
The hum of the waters lapping,
the white caps rolling, rolling.
The wave crests. The ship finally rests.
Safe in the love of a good and gentle
woman, our day begins. Monday comes
along, rainy. Gloomy and overcast but
it does not cast a pall on the morning.
Loving each morning; every good morning.
No need for warning; the days begin.

WHISTLING

Whistling past the graveyard
only darkness lurks within.
Whistling past the graveyard,

yet I hear those sounds again.
The creaks of barren branches,
only evil lurks within.

Still, I take my chances
I find the noise unnerving.
The creaks of barren branches

has left my tune unswerving,
A frantic blow through nervous lips,
I find the noise unnerving.

Then suddenly the walkway dips,
a shadow figure beckons.
A frantic blow through nervous lips

would save my soul, I reckon.
Whistling past the graveyard,
a shadow figure beckons.
Whistling past the graveyard.