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

PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF

I’ve been given a wonderful gift,
I have been presented with an extraordinary
opportunity. And in the unity of a writing
community, I am bolstered to holster
all fears and trepidation and feed on the
elation of this moment. I am a poet.
A writer who’s gift had been left in it’s
plasticine covering for fear it gets ruined
like grandma’s divan in the room
only used for important company.
Or wakes. It takes the support of like
cohorts and believers to stave off deceivers,
purveyors of doubt and negativity of sort
as you cavort through blank pages to pen
that which, again and again haunts you.
Now the chance to flaunt your talent
and you word skills that will make or break you.
It’s taken you forty years to become
the overnight success you’ve dreamed of being
and now you’re seeing the forest AND the trees.
But she’s determined to break you, to take you
from what you love and shove it up your ass.
Her style and class were checked at the threshold.
She’s sold you on the idea that your worth
is worthless in your pursuit. But you refute it.
You know one fact to be true. A writer writes.
All the battles and fights waylaid and splayed
in spatters across your life has prepared you
for nothing but this: The only way to fix it, is fix it.
There are people who believe in you and won’t
leave you hanging to gain nothing. Friends love
your work and you. You’re through with
being kept down. That perpetual frown needs
an upturn; you live and learn. No more left
on dusty shelves. Writer, Heal Thyself!

Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge – Day 13 – Self-Help

GRAVY

It couldn’t get any better
if I let her do it herself.
Life is swimming with my feet
just skimming the surface.
The smile on her face soothes
and her beauty exudes from inside
to out, that carries a lot of clout.
The daughters are grown, and with one
having flown the coop, the best
empty nest scenario seems less scary.
Oh I worry about the future, but I’m sure
things will work out fine. If I’m lyin’ I’m
going to lay down before I kick it.
I know I can lick it.
My health is slowly improving and
as long as I keep moving, everything
else is gravy. And that’s always a plus.

© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik – 2013

Inspired by POETIC ASIDES Day 5 prompt – a “Plus” poem

HEART ATTACK

It’s been a rough road,
but I’ve been told that’s how the ball bounces.
Every ounce of life is a strange frenzy,
and in the end we settle our wayward hearts
and start falling in love all over again.
The results are sublime; a robust chance
to channel life in a dedicated “heart attack”.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

Written for THE SUNDAY WHIRL – Wordle #67

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

OCTOBER SAVES

Fighting a battle often lost in the darkness
of a weary mind. There is no rest there.
Cursing the single candle lit to offer
its illumination; to infiltrate this
mental stagnation. Accursed slumber
why do you wage against my will?
Will you release me like the leaves
of October’s colorful flurry, left
to scatter in the cool winds from place
to place; a migration to discover the peace
that I crave. You have found me, October.
You have extended your lifeline in fine fashion,
a saving assist for one clamoring for control
over heart and soul,
over heart and mind.
I clutch your hand as I am flung over
the edge of reason. Your season is here.
You want me near, October, where I belong.
Anything else would be just wrong.

HEADSIDE MANNER

The “doctor” is in.
Caring words for a troubled heart
in a dosage that will impart a remedy
for any ailment or malady. Encouraging
healing in the hearing of his verse,
no nurse can massage and soothe
what this Doctor of Poetics can touch
with gentle compassion, a fashion
which has not been taken to heart
since the aching had started.
Injecting humor to induce laughter’s medicine,
and after that, prescribing in rhyme
for the times when his words aren’t so apparent.
It is inherent to his purpose, to do no harm
with the words that warm and placate.
Giving a clean slate to a heart so caressed
by the worded wonder of a true poetic healer.
A great deal, just be sure to follow the warning:
take two poems and call me in the morning.

The “doctor” is always in.