Monday November 8 (Poetry Challenge Day 35)

I went to my inbox and found the word “Galere” in my ‘Word of the Day’ email. I created the first line of this poem using that word as inspiration. I’ll admit this seems a bit personal, but I suppose that is what poetry should be…

I have felt like an outsider
most of my life.
I’ve been good at many things,
but only good, never great.

I’ve never really felt I was the best
at something, or nearly so.
It always seems I could do
a little bit better.

I don’t know if reaching that level
is a matter of skill and accomplishment that anyone can achieve,
or is the feeling of falling short
a lack of contentment with oneself.

I’m not sure how I will answer that question.

What To Do Before I Die

Journal Entry

First of all, I don’t intend to answer the question, I just want to consider it for a moment. There was a time not long ago when I was completely focused on riding my bicycle across the country. That was 2019, then, shortly after completing that goal in November, things changed dramatically. You have all lived through what I’m talking about now. When the Pandemic hit us, I threw myself into a remodeling project. That kept me busy and focused outside of myself. It feels like I have reached a point in my recovery where I can start thinking about other things, let’s just call them self-actualization goals for want of a better term. I enjoyed the remodeling project, and there was a good bit of satisfaction gained from the effort, I will probably even look back on it as a significant accomplishment, but it feels like it was more of a coping mechanism than a self-actualization goal.

I do like to set goals for myself. I currently have a goal to write a poem a day for one year. That will be 365 poems (I can still count). That goal will be completed (if I am successful) in early October of next year… I can only think of two epic goals I have set for myself and accomplished in my life: building a house (I pounded every nail) and cycling across the country. (Once the Poetry Challenge is completed, it may also become epic, it’s too soon to tell.) These don’t feel like enough to me.

Of course I have some long standing interests that might be considered goals: cycling, skiing, overland travel… but no plans currently to make any of these epic in nature. My struggle appears to be with the word epic. Perhaps I should look at goals in a less dramatic way. I think the real problem here is my struggle with the need to define goals for myself. That may have also been more influenced by the Pandemic than I realize. Are we finally entering the aftermath? What will it be like a year from now, if indeed we are going through the aftermath right now? Will I look at my life in a less “goal oriented” manner once the Pandemic is behind us? I don’t know.

I think the real message here is, I don’t have the feeling that I have attempted enough at this point in my life. Perhaps I should be more satisfied with the accomplishments that I can point to, but that doesn’t feel like the right answer. The answer may be that having goals is a peculiarly human characteristic, one that provides us with the answer to the question, “have I accomplished enough with this life?”

Here is what I know: I’m happy, I have found love, and I’m still ambulatory, so take that Father Time! (I just can’t figure out how to ski with my knees apart.)


Sunday November 7 (Poetry Challenge Day 34)

Arabica beans are superior.
Robusta beans taste like dirt.

Be sure and read the label carefully.
Caution is the better part of taste.

It once was asked, “who buys Robusta beans?”
The answer was “mostly prisons.”


Journal Entry

I’m now experimenting with writing my “daily journal” in the Ulysses app. I never really understood why I wasn’t completely satisfied writing in a notebook. Oh, I liked the experience of writing with pen on paper, I found that very satisfying esthetically speaking, but it always left me feeling just a bit unsatisfied in other ways. I guess partly because thoughts don’t flow as evenly or as quickly as they do when I’m typing. It’s also a pain in the ass to make additions and corrections. Perhaps 40 years of typing on a keyboard just has me overly committed to thinking with my fingers… I don’t really know. What I am realizing is that in the short period of time that I have gone back to the keyboard (two days) I’m satisfied. I’m going to continue with this approach for now. After all, my shit needs to be typed in order for it to show up here anyway…


Saturday November 6 (Poetry Challenge Day 33)

It was the Fall of ’19
a few months before the Pandemic.

Life was different.
No real concern for the future.

I followed by best friend
into the Sierra Mountains.

We spent three glorious days
camping by a pristine alpine lake.

He tells me now he misses the Sierras.
So do I.

I miss that time we shared.
That escape into something wholly different.

He says he can’t go back,
can no longer carry the load.

I’m not sure I could.
We could always hire Sherpas I suppose.


Friday November 5 (Poetry Challenge Day 32)

If you want a friend
get a dog.

If you want to be ignored
get a cat.

(But this poem is about dogs.)

A dog will follow you
to the end of the earth.

And likely not complain
along the way.

It doesn’t matter
what your dog is thinking.

If asked, the answer will always be
‘I love you.’

Note: The reference to cats ignoring you isn’t always true. Mine follows me around just like a dog.

A Month

Thursday November 4 (Poetry Challenge Day 31)

I’m mildly surprised,
I completed one month.

Eleven to go,
I’m still not convinced.

I don’t know where the
words come from.

As long as they keep coming,
I will keep scribing.


Wednesday November 3 (Poetry Challenge Day 30)

Any day you write a poem
is a good day.


Tuesday November 2 (Poetry Challenge Day 29)

My cat has no idea
how lucky he is to be out of Florida.

I adopted him after Hurricane Michael
made him homeless.

He now resides in Washington,
and frequently Oregon.

He was flown here for free
so he could be adopted.

I’m lucky to have him.
He warms my heart.

I wonder if he remembers…
never mind… he is mine now.

No Obligation

Monday November 1 (Poetry Challenge Day 28)

I hearby release you
from all obligation you may feel
to read these words.

Starting today.

Now go do something
useful for the world.

Note: Unlike me.


Sunday October 31 (Poetry Challenge Day 27)

Conservative member of Parliament, David Amess, stabbed to death while holding a meeting with his local constituency

Violence came to the mother-land
before it came to our shores.

I’m surprised.
I thought we would be the first to choose this path.

Note: Naturally violence of this sort is not new, to either country. It’s just that we haven’t seen this for awhile and it comes as a shock. Our intolerance for one-another has been pushing us in this direction for several years.


Saturday October 30 (Poetry Challenge Day 26)

You should never give advice.
What you should do,
is lead people to the
proper conclusion.

Like leading a horse to water
there is no guarantee she will drink.
But consider, if you tell her to go drink,
she will just look at you.

The best advice I can give you is
don’t give advice.

Note: Unless of course it is asked for, and then very cautiously.

Wilkerson, Isabel. "Caste." Random House; 2021.

Journal Entry

I simply can not recommend this book any more highly. Reading this book will give you an entirely new perspective on the history of our nation. It is researched, thoughtful, but more importantly, it opens doors to perspectives that I would not have discovered in a lifetime of ordinary exposure to our country’s established cultural thought and tradition.

High Desert

Friday October 29 (Poetry Challenge Day 25)

Sunrise in the high desert
is a joy to behold.
It is so fleeting.
I would like to freeze it
and bathe in it for awhile.
I love the way it silhouettes
things you wouldn’t ordinarily notice.
It makes me wonder
how much I have missed.

Wind Chime

Thursday October 28 (Poetry Challenge Day 24)

This morning I awoke
to my wind chime.

It is such a gentle sound.
I don’t normally pay attention to it.

It seems to only ring
when I am most silent.


Wedensday October 27 (Poetry Challenge Day 23)

Dishwasher tablets.
Small Olive Oil.
Sandwich rounds.
A collapsable stool - white only
…or black…
…or gray…

Add a fly-swatter to that list.
Decisiveness is important.


Tuesday October 26 (Poetry Challenge Day 22)

It occurred to me this morning
that what I am really doing here
is telling the story of my life.

That was probably obvious to you already.
I tend to be the last to
discover most things about myself.

Monterey 12.0.1

Allow me to digress momentarily into a realm of trivia likely of interest only to people that post to this blogging service…

Yesterday Apple released Monterey 12.0.1. Ulysses released their companion version to all users. One of the new features made available to Ulysses users is the ability to update posts. This was not previously available and for me at least this is… life changing.

I did not expect this to happen. I’m used to wanting features that never seem to become reality. This time I was pleasantly surprised!


Monday October 25 (Poetry Challenge Day 21)

One goes into the dirt at his feet.
He doesn’t bend for it.
Another sails over his head.
He doesn’t reach for it.
I just want him to show me
how to throw the damn ball.

Too many calls at work today.
I didn’t get a damn thing done.
The warranty issue just won’t go away.
Who the Hell will I assign to that one?
I need to get in
early tomorrow.

It warms my heart to see
the two of them out there playing together.
Who would have thought the boy
would be able to play baseball.
I just wish he were a bit more patient with him
and tried to enjoy himself a bit.

Any similarity to persons real or otherwise is coincidental…


Sunday October 24 (Poetry Challenge Day 20)

It’s time to go buy some shit on Amazon…
…or not.

Note: If writing short one-liners should be avoided, it’s a shame to burn one so early in the project.

Fountain Pen

Saturday October 23 (Poetry Challenge Day 19)

Few tools give me more pleasure
than a fine fountain pen.

I only own one,
the bastards are expensive.

If you have never tried one,
you are missing a wonderful experience.

Note: This is not to say that I don’t own any symbols of success… I would not spend $1000 on a fountain pen, but I have spent well over that for a bicycle… by a factor of 10…

Get On Your Bike And Ride

Friday October 22 (Poetry Challenge Day 18)

You could use this phrase
to suggest someone needs to look
for a new job.

It could also mean
you have a penchant
for fat bottomed girls.

Maybe like David Byrne,
you have a “Diary”
in your future.

For me, it means freedom, exercise,
the means which allows me
to look at things differently.

Whatever it means to you,
‘Get on your bike and ride!’

When I Die

Thursday October 21 (Poetry Challenge Day 17)

You’ve heard the phrase
‘don’t cry for me.’
I’m going to add a new one,
‘don’t sweat the details.’

When I die
I would like it if you get together
and say nice things.
If they are true, all the better.

But please don’t sweat the details.

Don’t worry about a memorial.
I’ll give you all the instructions you need for that…

Play my favorite song.
Read my favorite poem.
(Likely not one of mine.)
Oh yes, and read a few words I have prepared for you.

And then… go get drunk.

Note: I realize the phrase ‘don’t sweat the details’ is not original to me.

My Cat Thinks I’m Stupid

Wedensday October 20 (Poetry Challenge Day 16)

He Is, There’s Little Doubt

Did you know there is such a thing
as an ‘Anthrozoologist?’

They specialize in thinking like animals.
They will tell you that cats think we are stupid.

I knew that.
My cat is constantly teaching me how to feed him.

He leads me to his bowl,
he doesn’t realize I’m onto his game.

Just for fun, when we reach his bowl,
I’ll pick him up and hold him instead of feed him.
The look of consternation on his face is priceless.

Sometimes instead of feeding him
(especially in the middle of the night)
I’ll take him back to bed with me instead.

I’ll try and snuggle with him,
he will bolt from my arms the first chance he gets.

Cats are still wild animals,
otherwise he’d know I was messing with him

Instead, he jumps down, shaking his head,
wondering how stupid could I be.

Note: The subtitle was written by my cat.


Tuesday October 19 (Poetry Challenge Day 15)

It’s truly amazing how quickly
we become frustrated
when we can’t find parking.

Note: Some would say this is a sentence disguised as a poem. I would not be the last person to agree with that…