CALL ME ISHMAEL

My alias precedes me,
even if my history doesn’t.
A Nantucket sailor on a whaler?
Not absurd though it sounds as if I’ve been around;
from classroom to classless seafarer, dare I
step away sight unseen from the Merchant Marine?
A man obsessed and depressed in Manhattan,
following death as she follows me.
Ahab’s Pequod offers refuge in this centrifuge
chasing the great white; following death as she follows me.
Narrator, philosopher, sometimes poet. You know it
isn’t easy when you’re among only men adrift at sea.
Let me introduce myself. I am Ishmael. Call me.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge – Day 9: Call Me ____

CRITICAL CONDITION

The results from the lab were in, but they could not detect any regret in my voice. It had been my choice to stand by you; friends together, a second chance for us to right what so often had gone  wrong, one last time. Taking note of your fragility and your need for constant rest, the best I could do was to care for you and be true to our connection for your protection and my own. My conscience would not allow me to make that same mistake, where I took leave of my senses and you. Translated: your illness made me sick.

The SUNDAY WHIRL -  Wordle #117
The SUNDAY WHIRL –
Wordle #117

Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik 2013

Written for THE SUNDAY WHIRL – Wordle #117

Offered at POETS UNITED – Poetry Pantry #158

TIMEPIECE

“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

INTESTINAL FORTITUDE

There’s this gut feeling
that has you reeling in your boots,
And the debate between having balls
or a lot of nerve is moot.
Life is a crap shoot; the target on your back
puts you in the game.
But the same feeling (that has you reeling)
is also steeling your resolve.
For one to solve anyconflict
there is a need to find the courage
to take a stand; fight for your right.
Even if it has you up all night.

Written for Khara House’s 30 x 30 Challenge – Day 8 – courage

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

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

Heart-to-heart, they were warriors;
hand-to-hand combatants suffering
the slings and arrows of outrageous accusation.
Shaken to its core, the love once shared
is no more. She held firm, her tongue in silence
and all the fierce violence he had perpetrated
only exacerbated their animus. It was a blessing
that her rugged resolve would hold her; solid marble
with a tender touch. In the remote reaches
of her time-worn soul, she saw herself a vision
in splendor and grace. The memory of his face was filed
away like the other cows who attempted to graze
in her verdant pasture. The bastards
should have known, Love is a battlefield.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

Written for THE SUNDAY WHIRL – Wordle #73

IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU DREAM

The void is deep and expansive,
and I sit in a pensive mood.
No good can come out of
wild fantasy and schisms,
mystic midnight visions
that play with my psyche.
It might be that when I drift,
floating by my tin can, I am
Major Tom. Slightly clueless:
a mess with little control
of my faculties, or my course.
I cry out, but no one hears,
and my fears of irrelevance
though unfounded, are drowned out
by the silence of the heavens;
a cosmos that deafens.

Written to fit the POETIC ASIDES “vacuum” prompt and WE WRITE POEMS #104 – “Loneliness” prompt!

WORTH OVER BETRAYAL

All during the interview, she remained one of the cool customers,
keeping her thoughts private. Confidential.
The memories of that moment were a blur, but clarity
unmercifully came to lift her fog. Emotions washed over her
in waves; once again she felt violated, ransacked –
leaving her again to feel broken and isolated.
She sits weeping inconsolably, his hideous face revisits
her with all the charms of a tire iron to her purity.
Wishing she could trade that visage for a vision
of one more caring and compassionate, offering
a healing touch, a sensitive ear; a glue to mend her fractured self.
She felt the fool to think there was a man whose love could make her feel
whole and clean and mended. But there she was, cinched by his caring
arms wrapped around her heart like a belt holding up her psyche.
It made her feel brand new, like a sticker declaring her “Improved!”
Love heals all!

 

 

Written for The Sunday Whirl – Wordle #43

AMY

Your pencil remains
pointed and true.
It is you who wields
in defense of others;
a true and trusted love.
A friend in the human scheme,
your words mean more
with each re-telling.
I am buying what you are selling.
You will be missed and
we are diminished for it.
For it is truly a sin:
when we give in, the terrorist wins!

***For my “hometown Home Girl” – you are loved!

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.