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 ____

RESPECT

Veteran’s Day plays in my head like a song.
It won’t be long before voices strong
intone in one voice; one accord.
The sword of truth cuts deeply, it does not choose.
But today, I sing the blues for every brave soul
reared in courage and sacrifice that had paid the supreme price.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Trouble in mind will find a place to burrow,
a furrowed brow in concern for a mission
to which I surrender my support, resorting
to whatever backing is lacking. You will be strong.
The chain of fools can bluster, but their brass
lacks the luster of each combat ready warrior!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Think of what it means to a nation struggling
to rise above, steeped in life, love and liberty.
Free to be whatever we envision, sometimes
in division. But for you, we come to stand together and tall.
Call me to stand in your defense, as you
have stood in mine. You built this “house”, Jack!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Say it isn’t so! Some go through this life giving no
credence to the selflessness you offer. Clueless,
they are lost in daydreaming, seemingly uncaring.
Your daring and strength pave the road,
to this free way, with love. You make me feel proud.
Until you come back I’ll say it loud.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

 

(C) Walter J Wojtanik, 2014

A timely poem based on the songs of Aretha Franklin

POETIC ASIDES NOVEMBER CHAPBOOK CHALLENGE – DAY 11: TIMELY/TIMELESS POEMS

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

62nd ANNIVERSARY WALTZ

A day remembered over the years

marking our time; a time to begin.

Two in love starting a life joined

and going the distance, a lasting union.

You have passed, but your legacy

continues in our hearts and minds.

Never truly gone when recalled

with love and respect. You are missed!

***

In celebration of my parents who would have celebrated their 62nd Anniversary today (4/21/2013)

 

ANGELS CRIED AT CHRISTMAS

Overwhelmed with emotion since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, thoughts and prayers for the victims and families have held a dominant place in my heart, which came flowing out as the lyrics of this song. The melody flowed as easily. I will attempt to record it to possibly post a video (or at least an audio clip)

ANGELS CRIED AT CHRISTMAS
Melody and Lyrics by Walter J. Wojtanik

Hearts of joy,
Playing in this world of love and happenstance.
Little minds,
Wanting just to learn of life’s glad circumstance.
Standing on the brink of years,
Standing tall in spite of fears
with open eyes.
Gentle souls; their mothers’ dears,
rained upon with angels tears,
oh, how they cry,
I’ll tell you why…

Another day,
Never knowing what’s in store, so unprepared.
Not the way
Children’s lives are supposed to be; confused and scared.
No one could have guessed their fate,
Mercy came, but much too late
for little ones.
So much love within their hearts,
Just waiting for their lives to start,
Oh, how we cry,
Tell me why.

The angels cried at Christmas,
Hearken angel voices sing a new refrain.
Now every year at Christmas,
Angel tears will fall again in sorrow’s stain.
Come now Angel, it’s okay,
Let love wipe your tears away
though your smile is gone.
Here now Angel, it’s all right,
Every new star shines so bright,
like your love, your light lives on and on.

Your Momma knows,
Deep within she feels your hand upon her heart.
And Daddy knows,
That even though you’re gone, you’re never far apart.
Babies when you left that day,
Angels now where angels play,
All looking down.
Missing Grandma’s warm embrace,
Grandpa won’t forget your face,
So, dry your eyes.
Please, don’t cry.

The angels cried at Christmas,
listen to the angels sing a new refrain.
Feel our love at Christmas,
Angel tears will flow with love ‘til we meet again.
Come now Angel, it’s okay,
Let love wipe your tears away,
though your smile is gone.
Here now Angel, it’s all right,
Every new star shines so bright,
like your love, your light lives on and on.

The angels cried (please dry your eyes)
The angels cried (a tearful sigh)
The angels cry,
Yes they cry at Christmas.

© Copyright – Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

HEROES AND THIEVES

The sun had arisen, a beacon offering illumination;giving shadows and then taking them away. A day like any other. Mothers preparing the children for school, before they head to work. Fathers making their commute to execute the completion of another day of living the American dream. It seemed a perfect day to stay that course. Of course, dreams can morph into nightmares that destroy, and every man, woman, girl and boy still strive to awaken from the promise so taken; shaken to our core and what’s more, feeling confused and abused, hated and welling with the same. But, not for long. The strong urge to strike was replaced by the urgent need to care and rescue; to eschew the lowly who strike like thieves in the night. The fight continues to remember the fallen, those called to serve and protect from this sect of humanity bathed in the blood of insanity.

The phoenix rises.
From the ash and dust it flies
upon eagles wings.

 

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

LIGHT FROM A DISTANT SHORE

She sets herself; a life raft for wayward
sailors navigating life on a tumultuous sea.
Her beacon shines brightly,
a nightly sweep with eyes searching
and a smile that provides great light.
Lost souls find comfort there.
Every heart beats more sure;
no hazard is too great to bear.

Far and away she stands,
a gentle lady of a kind and nurturing soul.
Her goal remains within reach,
nature’s friend and confidant.
A mother’s caress never so sweet,
nor guiding hand so tender,
making a mental effort to present
her precious gift; melancholy’s true mender.

For she becomes the friend in which you place your trust,
the “embrace” in which you find comfort.
She is a beautiful soul,
a manifestation of every good thing.
She brings her smile to soothe your heart
and you start to believe in all of her charm;
a shield protecting and projecting
is the sanctuary disguised as her arms.

Secure in the shadows
miles from your eyes, you are wise
to rely on her heart being your rudder.
For the heavens give her direction
and her faith gives her solace.
Her face, an angel’s desire
and the smile she burns throughout,
with love’s unquenchable fire.

© 2012 – Walt Wojtanik

100% MY FATHER’S SON

He was Walt as I am Walt,
and his father was before him.
We shared so much, our ways
and such, as I carry on today.
He, a man quite good with wood
but didn’t say a lot.
Me, a man quite good with words,
but as with wood, quite not.
He taught me things,
he bought me things,
he wrought me with his demons.
And I was swell,
and I rebelled
and inherited his demons.
But, there was a man, despite his flaws
loved his family just because
we gave him joy. Every girl,
every boy, and Mom the glue
that mended us, nurtured and befriended us
and protected us ’til we knew better,
she’d make him a saint if we had let her.
But, Dad was rather quite assured
that mistakes he made would not be cured,
we learned to live within his world
until he up and left it. And now,
bereft it we hold onto all he gave.
I got his eyes, artistic style,
I got mom’s nose, her sighs, her smile,
I got his skill and sad addiction,
I embrace her warmth, his dereliction.
But all-in-all, one helluva guy
in his workshop in the sky.
I have his name, I have his fun,
100% my father’s son.

RESPECT: GIVEN AND EARNED

A generous heart with the capacity to love unconditionally;
despite our flaws and our foibles, everything left on the table
came from a deep seated respect for life and my place in it.
Disagreements were never fights, and rights were something
that were never followed by lefts, or any combination thereof.
He gave me my space; room to grow and learn from mistakes
made with regularity early on; less frequent when he needed
a competent aid and caretaker. The inheritance came as an intangible,
a right of passage that gave every woman and man their due
in lieu of their station in life or place of origin. Giving me all
that he knew I could handle because he believed you earned
everything you wanted and were given everything you needed.
Respect always came at equal value. You only got what you gave.
I’ve saved it all these years, treasured and heart bound,
found in a generous heart with the capacity to love. Thanks Dad!

 

Written for We Write Poems – Prompt #90

THE CALL

“Dad’s got cancer.”
Words as lifeless as I felt at that moment.
My sister, Daddy’s baby girl, her voice
shaken from its confidence.
And I in exile deteriorating in my own
self-absorbtion, choking on words so harsh.
And words so healing; a feeling of redemption
in my reply. Wiping an eye or two,
and through with my vitriol; back in control
of the emotions so frayed. Four months
were all that were afforded me. It awarded
me a chance to reconcile for the while he had.
Two Walts contrasted; reunited while Dad lasted.