“Tarnished and dented; a bauble from a bygone day”

Tarnished and dented; a bauble of a bygone day.
In a wooden cigar box; keepsakes both, with
little more function than that. The stem fused
to the casing, the workings have retired. But,

it has inspired me to find the link. The contents
of the box play like a road map; clues to unravel
the mystery that is my history. The key, worn and
encrusted with years of dirt and oils from feeble fingers.

It lingers in my hand for a moment, its uncertainty secured.
Papers, folded and bound with a frail rubber band
line the bottom of the box. A visa document,
possibly a first issue wrapped in a tissue to protect

what it meant to an old Polish immigrant determined
to become all that America had to offer. Naturalization
documents, meant to pronounce his acceptance
of a lifestyle long sought, and their acceptance of him

as one of the free and brave. The camera buried amongst
the treasures, bellows cracked and torn, a forlorn
instrument with which a part of his life had been preserved.
It all deserved a better fate, but it is too late to shed

a single tear from your eyes for its demise. The puzzle
is splayed before you, the detective of your past.
A torn swatch of a fabric, hues faded but shades
of blue and red and white pressed between pages.

Finally, one last piece remains. A photograph.
a dark and handsome young man; heavy jacket and
a fedora pulled down across the brow. Intermingled
with other similar folk unconcerned for their purpose.

But the subject stands tall. Proud. Posed to save
this moment in memory, and upon this daguerreotype
for long after. In the background, Lady Liberty stands strong.
In his hand an American flag clutched to his chest.

A chain from buttonhole to vest pockets and a key as a fob,
a cinch to keep his pride from bursting. It insinuates
the only part missing was the watch that sat tucked
close to his left hand. A trinket; a remembrance

of the father he had left behind in Igolomia, Poland
to claim his dream. It remains strong in your own heart
as the box that holds your Great-Grandfather’s declaration secure.
You are sure the timepiece marked his life as well as your own.


Presented at dVerse Poets Pub – OLN Week #104



He was Walt as I am Walt,
and his father was before him.
We shared so much, our ways
and such, as I carry on today.
He, a man quite good with wood
but didn’t say a lot.
Me, a man quite good with words,
but as with wood, quite not.
He taught me things,
he bought me things,
he wrought me with his demons.
And I was swell,
and I rebelled
and inherited his demons.
But, there was a man, despite his flaws
loved his family just because
we gave him joy. Every girl,
every boy, and Mom the glue
that mended us, nurtured and befriended us
and protected us ’til we knew better,
she’d make him a saint if we had let her.
But, Dad was rather quite assured
that mistakes he made would not be cured,
we learned to live within his world
until he up and left it. And now,
bereft it we hold onto all he gave.
I got his eyes, artistic style,
I got mom’s nose, her sighs, her smile,
I got his skill and sad addiction,
I embrace her warmth, his dereliction.
But all-in-all, one helluva guy
in his workshop in the sky.
I have his name, I have his fun,
100% my father’s son.



You were the one my heart had known,
now this emptiness is painful.
And all compassion I had shown
had made this task more disdainful.

These days do pass in bitter dreams,
my soul is tearing at the seams,
And you still live here in my heart
forever pierced by Cupid’s dart.

WRAP MY WORDS AROUND YOU (by Daniel Bedingfield)

In the night, you approach.
A wafting wind to warm me,
a gentle hand to soothe my anguish.
I am inspired by your beauty,
a vision to feast upon,
a voice to quell an angel’s sigh.
And I, merely a mortal man,
a word monger striving;
surviving this life through verse.
Sometimes this blessing is a curse,
a perverse ability to seduce
the mind and heart. I am an upstart
in search of the phrase that will
open you, longing for the rhyme that will
inject your spirit with an ever-expanding love.
Find solace in my wile;
take comfort in my words.
Warmth and security emanate
from within my verbose blanket.
To you, I offer the renderings of my heart.
Wrap my words around you.


I thought about you last night.
I think about you every night.
It is something I do, because I can.

But last night you were in my dreams.
One of those, “so real you can touch”
dreams that awaken you in cold sweats and

make you clench your eyes, hoping to see
one more glimpse, or share one more moment
before what little sleep you get evades them.

You were there, by my side with smile wide,
and eyes that stayed trained only on me.
When we walked, I became your vision, steering you

around obstacle and hazard in our way.
My arm around your shoulder, feeling the tremor
in your every breath that landed upon my nape

keeping my pilot light well lit, and reminding
of the vibrancy you have given my purpose.
And we walked, because that’s what we did.

Sunshine or rain, our footsteps never faltered.
Snow and sand, our trek was not deterred.
In sickness and in health, as you always said

not promises we had exchanged before God,
but a life commitment we shared in what
our love espoused. You were my sun and moon,

you walk our heaven amongst the stars
we counted in futility, but as endless
as this love remains. A lifeline

that joins our hearts still; a tether
that keeps your being alive within me,
an attachment that illness could not dampen,

and the darkness of death cannot shadow.
So we meet often in my dreams knowing that
your influences and direction serve me still.

In our last moments in life, your beauty,
hidden within the emaciated form you had taken,
your brilliant auburn fire had become

sparsely patched and faded, your eyes were
dim flickers of the enlightening flame
that warmed my heart and soul, but still glowed

for the sight of me. Your voice lay silent,
words of love only played on the periphery
of your vacant stare. Your lips, dried and cracked,

pursed and puckered from your disease still
desired to feel the touch of my own bringing you
the sensation you always awaited. It brought it out.

Your smile. Faint, but apparent, you knew.
Beauty. It lived in you even when death struggled
to wrestle it from my firm grip. I held on.

And I continue to hold onto the meaning
of what we shared. The love. The attachment.
The part of you that never died. The last lasting gift.

From me to you.


Hold me tight
so I can feel you breathing.
The sweet in and out of life’s rhythm
clutching onto the thought of my being.
In return, your presence is welcomed
and most needed in the clasp of
your arms around my shoulders.
You hold me up, keep me secure,
you offer your self as an anchor
to keep me from drifting too far out
from your safe shore. Keep me right.
Hold me tight.