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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SPACE IDIOCY

Peering out the window opening; leering
at the vastness of a vacuous void,
there are no life forms appearing
and I feel a bit annoyed.

Volunteering for a mission
is just another way of saying
I give you my permission
to be used as you see fit. Playing

hero (when martyr would suffice nicely)
and I know to get back from this place
I will need to get out of this space, precisely
what I did NOT want to do. In case

you aren’t listening, the sounds around
are vacant. In space no one can hear you
scream for Ice Cream (no matter how big the mound),
it would melt before the spoon got near you.

So, I don my suit, untried; untested,
and strap my boots to seal my feet,
If I wore this at home, I’d be arrested
but, on this planet, it can’t be beat.

I press the button to raise the panel
and nothing appears to transpire.
I press it again on this stupid panel
with no result but to fan my ire.

I need release, my mission is clear,
I need to step down to step on the soil,
I haven’t a clue how to get out of here
despite my training and years of toil.

I pound on the door with furied fists,
yelling at the intercom transmitter,
but this innocuous box, it surely resists,
frustrated am I, but I’m no quitter.

“Open the pod bay doors, Hal!” I scream,
but the response, it does not save me.
“I’m afraid that I can’t do that, Dave!” it seems
this spaceship has enslaved me.

I have no qualms about dying in space,
though this isolation is truly scary,
Besides, its memory is a disgrace,
I’m screwed. I’m not Dave, I’m Larry!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Written for dVerse Poets Pub – Tuesday Poetics: Fear

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

UNITED

On the edge of reason, we watched and waited.
We hated being helpless, and I guess
we hated being the target of hate.
Many were functioning as they normally had,
but then every man, woman, mom and dad
had much to explain to minds that could not
comprehend. It had sent a strong message,
that we should be ever-vigilant and can’t
let down our guard. It is hard to preach trust
when the thrust of such extreme proportion
penetrates our collective spirit. They thought
they’d split it in two. It is true that we fight
amongst each other, like any “sister” and “brother”
but let another interfere and we’ll be here united
to fight it tooth and nail. We had stumbled, but did not fail.
May God continue to Bless America!

© – Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

SIX WORD SATURDAY – AUGUST 18, 2012

In death, sadness. In life, joy.

A friend and family member was killed in an automobile accident on Wednesday. Walter Kujawinski was a simple man, mentally challenged and who battled schizophrenia and alcoholism in a world that didn’t understand his handicap. There is sadness in his passing, but he was a joy in life.

Written for SIX WORD SATURDAY 8/18/2012

TRAFFIC JAM

I come to a complete halt.
Fifteen mile back-up and hours
in arrears.

Raleigh to Buffalo in eleven and a half,
that was the plan; designated and approved.
A noon departure, destined to render us home
near its midnight counterpart. My heart
wasn’t in for the drive, but I strive to follow
an itinerary that felt hollow and vacant.
Down the on-ramp to the highway,
I stay five mph above the limit making up
minutes; false victory in an age old story.
No glory on a Sunday afternoon. I swoon
as I watch the traffic thicken, and it sickens me
to see red brake lights illuminated,
making me irritated and disgusted.
I trusted my GPS to bring us home,
but I come to a complete halt.
Fifteen mile back-up and hours
in arrears. My greatest of fears
is realized. A desperate maneuver
from the center lane to find an exit.
Closer to “come from” than “near home”
we return to the accommodations to wait
for the early morning “night” to restart our flight
to the promise land and a warm familiar bed.
Can’t wait to rest my head. If I can only keep
my eyes from making me fall asleep.
A change of plans; not in my hands.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

IT SUCKS

In the void of existence,
life drifts aimlessly,
drawing every last breath
from a chestful of dreams.
It leaves one seemingly
weightless and restless.
And the guess is that
each of us has it in us
to rescusitate ourselves.
But we are against the clock
and it isn’t a shock that
life ends before we really
begin to live. It’s a given,
and it sucks.

THE SUNDAY WHIRL – WORDLE #42

The Sunday Whirl - Wordle #42

AFTERMATH

 

The rebellion continues.

The warrior stands petulant, defiant;

reliant to emerge from his self-imposed exile.

Rising from the ruins;

billows of smoke amidst the staccato drone of distant sirens.

He has the dubious distinction of surviving the conflagration

with nothing more than a minor scar from a metallic dart.

It all starts with the turn of a latch and an igniting of fuses.

All hell breaks loose in blooms of fire; the resound of incendiary explosions.


THE SUNDAY WHIRL – WORDLE #42

LUCA BRASI (Rispetto)

"Luca, dorme con i pesci!"

 

A boorish brute, loyal to the last.
a henchman, evil and brutal.
He’d seal your fate with one quick blast,
begging for your life was futile.

Don Corleone was your boss,
protect his life at any cost.
Brasi, your death was quite messy.
Luca, dorme con i pesci.*

* Sleeps with the fish

FIVE SIDES

 

There were five sides to every story,

in a place where glory was the prize earned

through valiant effort and selfless sacrifice.

It would have been nice to face your attackers,

but cowardly slackers destined to fail their main mission

sat in a position to cause as much damage as they could.

Would they have succeeded, we would have pleaded

for mercy. But we don’t play that way. The heroes

in New York and Pennsylvania had back-up

in the Nation’s capitol. On patrol and wresting control

back from the faceless assailant.  Our own mission clear.

Do not lead out of fear. Defend out of honor and respect

of those who had given so much for the cause of many.

In any instance, there remains five sides to every story.

In honor and glory, they died for a cause,

earning our undying devotion and endless applause.