Personal Demon

Sitting in the twilight of an impending storm
I met the demon that launched my fall
from grace and beauty and all things good
there I sat in the bloom of youth
tempting the demon I sought to seduce

We danced together in the moonless night
pulling me close, he whispered in my ear
all the things young girls long to hear

Pretty child, he intoned, stay with me and never be alone
I surrendered willingly to his warm embrace
and all he asked for was my dignity and grace

Contest Submittal

I’m submitting 3 columns from 2014 to the “National Society of Newspaper Columnists” 2015 Column Contest.

Between Pat, the kids, and I we have narrowed it down to six with two definite entries. I need help picking the third.

The two definitive choices can be found here (these are pdf files):

ARE YOU KIDDING ME_ Have it your way – Gate House

ARE YOU KIDDING ME_ One last gift – Gate House

The last selection will be from the column that gets the most votes:

1. ARE YOU KIDDING ME_ Been here, done this – Gate House

2. ARE YOU KIDDING ME_ Fact check – Gate House

3. ARE YOU KIDDING ME_ Future tense – Gate House

4. ARE YOU KIDDING ME_ New beginnings – Gate House

In the comments please let me know which you think is the best!


Butterflies are free

I weave a cocoon from the strands of my own self-absorption impervious to the endless dramas that unfold around me 

Floating through the world on a slipstream powered by my own inadequacies and doubt 

I appear aloof and detached as I ignore the pain I see in others 

Simultaneously nursing petty grievances and slights inflicted as I am ignored by those busily weaving the armor they require to survive in a dispassionate world

Our paths swirl and merge and mingle cross-pollinating angst and misery that dance in the eddies left in our wake

Wondering and wishing for someone, somewhere to acknowledge the pain of our shared existence

Instead we mine the wisdom of dead men who walked alone but still managed to see beyond their own opaque chrysalis into the pulsing radiating pain of others to find the spark of humanity that means hope also lives within us all

But demands to be released into the world and we must tend the fragile spark that exists somewhere inside us all

Perhaps residing in the place where our potential intersects our fear and has the power to become transformative but so many of us blink and then sigh as we pull closer the strands of our cocoons forswearing ourselves to a life of safe mediocrity


Sadness coils low and deep
Painting my soul in gray muted misery
Tension builds and I can’t breathe
I long for your touch and gentle smile
Heartache frays the edges of my reason as
Seasons pass in a muted blur of sound and color
Plucking at the raw and open nerve that is me, missing you
A wintertime of discord lives at my core
Hard and frigid and unrelenting
Thawing only when we are together and
Cocooned against the harshness of a world that
Cares nothing for softness or grace
The never-ending rat race of consumption and greed
While the poor gentle souls get plucked like weeds and
Pummeled on the rough seas, clinging to rafts made from
Equal parts of honesty and misery then watch as their
Hearts and souls are tattered and battered, bartered to the
Highest, heartless bidder and ground down to a dust
Pink and fine that rides a fetid wind of intolerance and hatred yet
Scatters the seeds of our hopes and dreams

Dawn renews

Up before the dawn, I am able to see the first light of day

The sky lightens, timidly at first but then bolder with greater courage

As it breaks free of the constraint of darkness to illuminate another day for those lucky enough to have survived the night

Hope is renewed as we turn out faces toward the light and begin again

Deja you


You only know the stories that I tell 

The ones that dwell at the intersection of my hopes and fears

The lessons that I struggle to learn as I try to discern their importance and the failures that I’m doomed to repeat ad nauseum  

The drumbeat of struggles that constantly undermine my self confidence and underscore my self-doubt 

By walking these avenues again I meet new travelers that are swimming against their own tides

The words are different but their stories cast a shadow best called déjà vu

We nod and share wry smiles that send the message, oh no, not you too

As we proceed to place our shoulders against the grindstone of daily living and push forward with whatever might we have left after the struggle of surviving day-to-day in the riptide of to much month left at the end of the money 

Eyes welling when we have to mumble no sorry baby maybe next month knowing full well that next month just brings you one step closer to eternal rest and one step further away from fulfilling the potential you can feel stagnating in the center of your being

Pleading for release