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



When your burden is heavy,
place them in my hands and continue your journey.

When your mind is troubled,
hand them to me and be comforted by clarity.

When your challenges are oppressive,
give me the chance to handle them. Be at peace.

When your heart is breaking,
remember I hold the capacity for eternal love.

When your eyes are unseeing,
know that my hand is outstretched to guide you.

When your confidence wanes and doubt resides,
be grateful my hands will wash yours, strengthening them.

When life seems arduous,
rest in my hands, and I will carry you.

When I carry you,
you will be loved.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge – Day 23: WHEN_____


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


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


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


November’s early chill does not sway this warm heart
from the task at hand. Kind of a dress rehearsal, sort of a role
reversal from the other ten months of the year.
Around here, hustle and bustle are the norm and true to form, I see red
and green. A controlled chaos, laced with love
and a true sense of the spirit that fills me. Christmas spirit.

That is not to say we are not thankful, because Thanksgiving Day is where that spirit
really shines. A gathering of family in celebration of that relation fills my heart
because it is the essence of the long holiday season born of love.
And let’s not kid ourselves. We are nothing without it. When I roll
out my list for the second time, I am reminded that within each heart, red
and full of life, lives a passion that lasts throughout the year.

And it shouldn’t be only one day a year.
It should be a daily diversion to pass on that spirit
in every word ever written or read
on the subject of our fellow men and women. It does my heart
good to know that the initiation of these feelings comes from the role
I play everyday. It’s not to say I take the credit, it just comes back to the love.

Many people ask, “What is love?”
It may be a forgotten art, but it is never lost if you yearn
to give of yourself. Of this gift, you have full control.
For keeping the smallest spark of this spirit
will go a long way in igniting your heart.
The first step is the start of a life’s journey; immortality in red.

It is not so much the color of the heart, but red
is the hue of the blood that courses within us all, a sign of life; a life of love.
So as I near the start of my work, I can feel my heart
expand in proportion to the sense of wonder this time of year
places in a young child’s heart, and the sense of spirit
that comes with the territory. I fill this role

the best I can. I am “The Man”. That’s how I roll!
So before I don the jingle bells and that suit, bright red,
I will bow my head and ask that I never lose this spirit.
As I hear, it gets harder to come by these days. But I love
the challenge. I’m sort of in my element this time of year.
As the big day draws near, it will fill my heart.

It warms me completely. It is the role I take on gladly.
For no matter how badly things go each year, I will be here dressed in red
full of love and holiday spirit. After all, I am Santa Claus…sort of.


A principle was attacked amidst
tears and destruction; a surreal snapshot
of a day worth forgetting. But no one did.
How do you forget the sight; the sound?
How do you forget the faces; the screams?
How do you diminish the sacrifice?
The word ‘impossible’ was tailor made
for this moment in time. Despair and
disbelief would be usurped by anger
and determination to not allow those who
put it all on the line, go quietly into that good night.
It became a fight to rise each day to face
the insurmountable task one brick at a time.
As many bricks as there were tears shed.
As many shards of glass as there were screams
of torment and terror. But the greatest error
made by a faceless ideology was assuming
we were broken and defeated. But the foresight
of three brothers of the fraternity most depleted
showed we were not defeated. Through the rubble
it stood in defiance. A naked flagpole planted
among the girders and debris. A symbol; our banner
raised high. A declaration loud and clear.
We are still here. We will not go gently.
Together we stand, a shield for liberty.
You took your shot and failed. An American Tale…
and the flag was still there! America had been blessed.


So far, my obsession has been with “Dreams” (A DREAM FOR MY HEART/YESTERDAY’S DREAMS) and now “Eyes” (OPEN MY EYES/SUNSET EYES). Something about this song rubbed certain people the wrong way and that affected my writing in a negative way for a long time. Opinions as to why are welcomed. The lyrics, as always, are listed below. The title is the audio link.


Melody and Lyrics by Walter J. Wojtanik – © 1985

Listening  to  the  sea  birds  call, and  thinking,
as  a  hint  of  nightfall  fills the  skies.
Off  on  the  horizon,  girl, I  see  you .
looking  deep  into  your  Sunset Eyes.

I can  feel  your  amber  arms  caress  me.
the smile  upon  your  face, it  soothes  and  warms.
Glowing face  of  angels,  you   possess  me,
Sunset Eyes protect  me  from  the  storm.

Your sparkling water’s flashing,
your waves are softly crashing here on the sand.
Charging, then returning back to the sea.
Your gentle hands keep falling,
your spraying softness calling, calling my name.
Sunset Eyes return your love to me.

Why is it you tease me with your wonder,
Make  me want to take you in my arms?
Unashamed, you cast this spell I’m under.
Sunset Eyes embrace me with your charms.

Your face is always changing,
expressions rearranging there on the sand.
Chameleon of colors there in the skies.
Our looks are ones of sorrow,
but we’ll be back tomorrow, standing in time.
Gazing deep into your Sunset Eyes.

Listening to the ocean’s song, and thinking,
as a hint of nightfall fills the skies.
Searching my horizon, girl, to see you.
It’s so good to see you, Sunset Eyes.
It’s so good to love you, Sunset Eyes.

I’m so glad I love you, Sunset Eyes.


Everyone needs a goal to shoot for; a dream to achieve. Some dreams remain the elusive prize, and some outlive their usefulness. It’s YESTERDAY’S DREAM that keep us from moving forward. The lyrics are below. Click on the title for the audio link.


Melody and Lyrics by Walter J. Wojtanik – © 1982

Unconvincing lies of strangers,
hidden dangers, of the dreams we used to share.
They tell me, try to tell me that you never cared,
taking me far away, another day… alone.

Silence of the night, it finds me,
and reminds me, of the emptiness inside.
It chills me, slowly kills me to think love has died.
Now that you’re far away, I’ve got to say… it’s true…

I can’t live on YESTERDAY’S DREAMS.
Making plans on yesterday’s schemes.
I’m all over dreaming of yesterday and you!

I’ve heard it said that breaking up is hard to do,
but it’s not half as hard if you know what to do.
So go your seperate way, without the urge to say…I love you.
Leaving me even more, like before so  far away……

Yeah, so now you’re gone, and I’m dealing
with the feeling and the emptiness subsides.
I’m starting from our parting, and I feel alive.
The lies of yesterday, are truth today, because…

I can’t live on YESTERDAY’S DREAMS.
No more plans on yesterday’s schemes.
I’m all over dreaming of yesterday and you!

I’ve heard it said that breaking up is hard to do,
but it’s not half as hard if you know what to do.
So go your seperate way, without the urge to say…I love you.
Leaving me even more, like before so  far away……

Yeah, so now you’re gone, and I’m dealing
with the feeling and the emptiness is gone.
I’m starting from our parting, and I’m moving on.
The lies of yesterday, are truth today, because…

I can’t live on YESTERDAY’S DREAMS.
No more plans on yesterday’s schemes.
I’m all over dreaming of yesterday and you!