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



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



Hit the mark, light the spots.
This poetic artist is smoking hot.
Has his words and fingers are limber
Been waiting all month
for the start of November.
Give me a prompt, and get out of my way.
Chapbook challenge starts today!


So what if it fails me?
Do I start it over?
Standing alone
rolling in clover.
Do I have it in me
to take up the gauntlet?
Will one more shot
be just a wee bit daunting?
Maybe tomorrow when the
excitement runs aground.
Maybe THEN can I get
all these thoughts written down!



The door mat to winter.
I wipe my feet on its rawness.
Not sure where I stand on the idea
of moving into a new season.
I was just getting comfortable;
feeling a bit more stable and hopeful
that familiarity is the friend I remember fondly.
We will take this walk,
hand in hand together. Starting today.
Starting right now. There’s no time like the present.
And this gift brings joy and placation.
This stagnation won’t last too long.
Standing firm to go strong.



Sleep the illusive adversary.
Free falling into the abyss of a dark
and ominous place deep in the recesses
of a mind once fruitful and productive.
Success the seductive whore
stood to sap more and more
of what made me so. In the flow
of vibrancy, a vacancy sign was hung
and every unsung song within
withered with any lucid thought
it may have possessed. At best,
any escape into a restless slumber
would have me lumbering through
the motions. But bottom beckoned.
Jagged and treacherous were the rocks
of my self-imposed despair. And it was there
that the climb back looked to be impossible;
nothing but endless sky and no wings to fly,
only empty pain and disillusionment.
Signal flares went unnoticed. Today was awash.
Hopes for tomorrow clutch weakly.
In dire need of the newness of another day.



Leonard George had a plan;
not so much of a take charge man,
(not even doing the best he can).

And so, his wife’s glad she’s bereft him.
Happy from the day she’d left him.
But his short sightedness upset him.

Leonard George had seen the light,
if fact it kept him up all night.
He decided to shut up and fight.

George’s maladies were much;
a battle with the booze and such,
a lothario with a cheater’s touch.

Emotion, not his strongest suit,
but after all, that point was moot,
the heartless bastard got the boot.

He knew he needed to take hold
of both his bootstraps, broad and bold,
to reclaim the soul that he had sold.

Leonard George still loved his wife
in spite of issues, troubles and strife.
So tomorrow, he’d repossess his life.

But, tomorrow is a funny thing
where hopes and wishes take their wing
and hopeful dreamers tightly cling.

The best-laid plans of mice and men,
have fallen short of mark again.
That night, Leonard George came to an end.

At his graveside, his estranged wife cries,
a flood of teardrops in her eyes
for the man she still despised.

Tomorrow comes a day too late.
So clear the clutter on your plate.
Or else you’ll suffer George’s fate.


Life, the undefeated champion.
An arsenal of left hooks
and upper cuts that find your glass jaw
every time. You pick yourself up
and search for senses long vacated
and elated you can live to fight
another day. A tentative jab to the body
leaving that chin unprotected
and you land dejected. Your legs abandon
and bit of evasive action, devoid of traction
and purpose; a direction useless to follow.
But you swallow your pride and stride
into your next punch which misses its mark
and parks you back to your seat.
You will not accept defeat and you find your feet.
At the count of eight, you come out swinging
bringing everything you’ve got until the final bell.
What the hell, life is the undefeated champion after all.



Today’s the day, your chances await you.
There’s no guarantee it will remain so.
So grasp the brass ring when it comes around,
or you’ll have found it gone at the next opportunity.
Yours for the taking, to hell with tomorrow!



…hug your children; your immortality. Teach them to love and stick to their morality. Always be there when they cry out.

…thank your parents for all they have helped make of you. It’s true the nuts do not fall far. Be who you are, and there they’ll be.

…give a friend a helping hand. A grand gesture is returned without prompting. The handshake keeping them closer.

…thell those you love, that you love. Unspoken, but always wanted; a vaunted supplication of devotion and emotion.

…know that the only danger a stranger presents is a lost opportunity for some universal unity. Whatever you do to the least brother, will be rewarded. You can afford it.

…give yourself every chance to be the kind of person you’ve aspired to become. Sometimes, it’s all we need to succeed.

…life should be lived to the fullest potential. In the torrential outpouring of each gifted moment, the time spent wisely is an investment in your legacy.

Do it, before it’s too late.