Messing with my grunge.
Hard edged music has no place
surfaced in flannel.
But I love
the warmth;
the comfort,
but something’s not right!
I stay up half the night
writing songs. Is it wrong to fill
“Love songs” with bitter angst, while
plaid and staid flannel is against my skin?
How can I win?
Find nirvana?
Do I wanna?
Can Cobain be channeled
sans the flannel? I can’t tell
but it sure as hell smells like it!

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik

dVerse Tuesday Poetics (Scent)


Nothing to smell here,
move a long way away from 
where it originates.
You can wait until the wind shifts
if it lifts your sense of smell
to tell you how bad it could be.
They say seeing is believing,
but I'm leaving the odor alone.
Roses are red and violets are blue...
but flowers that are unscented
wither whether you want them to or not!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik, 2022

*Written to Poetic Asides April P.A.D. Day 3 - (Smell) 


Molten heat, flesh dripping
with the perspiration of passion’s fire.
Crimson patches with crusted edges;
blisters of the resistant strain of hearts
more to ignite and burn in sacrifice;
the stench of charred skin,
it is a blood offering to the gods who pander
to longing.
The pyre broils unbridled, arms out-
s  t  r  e  t  c  h  e  d and reaching to
breach the ford between
love and lust. A bridge.
It is what is, from the sanctuary
of solitary souls. Barren.
No one watches,
no one sees from whence the smoke rises.
becomes my affliction,
setting myself ablaze for adulation’s sake,
an implosion of inward emotions laid bare.
And there, where only ash remains
is a powdered stain where once hearts conjoined.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik



“…someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo!”
~ from Simon & Garfunkel’s “At The Zoo”
Cramped quarters, and crowded to overflow,
you never know how these things are planned.
As it would stand, the animals had little say.
It was sad and upsetting in a way,
that the keepers made the choices and
those without voices had little to say.
The variety of the species was intriguing,
in a league all their own, over-blown
in scope, and that left little to say.
Everyday, the wild ones were forced into domesticity,
a simplicity to those cracking the whip. The zookeeper
fond of rum indeed, due to breeding and nothing constructive to say.
Four young lions, strong in spirit and vision,
but always in division over their birth right
and wrong as it sounded, they had little to say.
Gazelles, graceful and girlish, flanked the habitat,
concerned with this and that, did strive to survive the onslaught,
but, they ought to have been allowed more to say.
When it was feeding time “at the zoo”, the milieu
benefited the fittest, as we crowded around the dinner table.
You could label us as you wish, but each dish had something to say.
Life at  “the zoo” offered sanctuary, with nary a worry,
for family gave you more than we “beasts” expected.
We were well protected, and that said it all.
(C) Walter J. Wojtanik


So many scents I could imagine
from visions in my memory,
days removed from years long past.
They go by faster now, curiously –

furiously trying to keep track
and hearkening back to a childhood
home. Three generations left their mark
and the stark reality remains,

it is no longer ours. But the years
had been kind and I find myself
reminiscing and kissing fond thoughts
lightly. Brightly color flashes

rehashed for posterity.
With clarity, I remember my grandfather,
immigrant of Polish decent,
sent to a new land to dream of becoming

one of his new compatriots;
assimilating to new customs and language
in an age where opportunity knocks
to build a life and a community.

A stoic figure, cigar clenched between
gold teeth and leathery lips,
a man of the land in a new place,
aromatic vapors wafting around his face.

My grandmother, American born,
sworn to marry and care for the man
whom her recently deceased sister had married.
She carried on to raise her “niece-daughter”,

and my mother and her brother
with the flavorful flare of traditional
Polish fare my grandfather had missed
from the old country. No sundry task,

the kitchen was the heart of their home,
contributing a fragrance it hasn’t seen since
my mother, through recipes passed down
had found their way into our childhood home.

At my grandmother’s passing, she was viewed
in our parlor, a pallor coloring my grandfather’s face,
and our place I am told, would hold the odor of cigars and whiskey,
perfumes and death, with us wondering why Grandma

never woke up. It was tough to recall all the unanswered
questions of an early age, with no sage advice,
to suffice a curious child. But through it all, my grandfather
retained his gilded smile and after a while we grew

to accept her absence. Getting a chance to spend time
with him, I’m certain he has influenced me through
his work ethic and profound patriotism for his adopted home.
Every day was a workday. Although retired he was mired

in his garden and yard. He worked hard and I helped
and felt how much I wanted to be like him.
He would smell like the soil in which he toiled,
so I would learn, and burnt leaves and tree branches.

And “by chance”, I would find treasures of silver
and folded paper where I had none. When work was done,
we’d sit on his bench and admire our handiwork.
And those moments would lurk in my memory all these years.

I recall the tears when his aromatic stogie left unattended,
would end up between the cushions on his couch,
rendering it burnt beyond usefulness, and sending my nose
to the same fate. After that day, my ability to smell went away

(and stays vacated to this day). So many scents
I would imagine from visions in my memory.
Days removed from years long past, they go by faster.
Now, it’s no wonder how curiosity brings me home!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Prompted by dVerse Poets Pub – Tuesday Poetics: Empire of Scents


The smell of burning leaves filled him,
like aromatic coffee on a brisk morning;
like the dawning of another fresh new day
which comes on the flare of a flugle horn trill.
The exhilarating breath of Autumn
filters through the screen door
playing tag with his nostrils. No dodge
could free him from its caress.
Choosing the familiar scent of his armchair,
he drifts back to sleep in peace.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Offered at dVerse Poets Pub – Tuesday Poetics: Empire of Scents