Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quotations and Quips

"The wages of sin are death"
- But after taxes, it's just sort of a tired feeling -

Plato said:
"What a nation honors, it will cultivate"

 The USA has and deserves great basketball players! -

Friday, December 23, 2011


Remorse is to discover just before you die that you have been dead for a long, long time
(C. Fletcher)

When the cannons are silent, heaven can be heard.
(Bicentennial Wagon Train Show 1976)

Creativeness is correlated with the ability to withstand lack of structure, lack of control, lack of predictability, lack of future, and a tolerance for ambiguity and planlessness.
(Abraham Maslow in 'Eupsychian Management)

Envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson in "Self Reliance")


This speaks for itself...FAR


Three old men on a bench in the squares hare the autumn sun with their backs to the wind.

The bench is hard, the company boring, but it’s better here than alone on the couch.

Occasionally they speak, but mostly silent scowls deepen the wrinkles around hollow eyes.

The sun shines brightly yet an air of gloom hangs about the hairy-eared cynics

They are not angry, not in pain, not even hateful

Still they sit, despairing, just awaiting their graves

Into the square comes a fourth old codger.

He spies his cronies huddled on the bench.

 As he approaches, his old age apparent, ancient as the three….But different somehow.

Lying warm and bundled in the crook of his arm lies a round faced, red cheeked healthy baby boy

The autumn walk with grand pop has kept him wide awake, full of life and giggly cheerful

The three old glooms rise up and shout greetings.

The air about them has warmed, they are smiling

They all talk at once, their words effervesce conversation bubbling to sweet nostalgia.

Old men, once despaired,now happy to be with old friends.

The baby without ever knowing has restored in them the sweet breath of life.

Mr. Solid Citizen

Though this was crafted 40 years ago, this hypocrite still lurks among us.  Call him out!

Mr. Solid Citizen

He works for ecology, but can’t really define it
He wears his alligator shoes to the earth day rally
He buys his herbicides in recyclable containers
He washes his hunting clothes in low phosphate detergent
He uses lead free gas in all four of his cars (including the SUV)
His seven kids helped distribute the ZPG posters
His wife wears the green omega ecology flag pin on the lapel of her seal skin jacket
He sold the pelts of the poisoned coyotes to get the cash to take his kids to the zoo to see the last surviving timber wolf.
He helped to deliver thousands of flyers urging citizens to save our forests
He popped two uppers during a smoke break to help him stay awake at the drug abuse seminar
He was the keynote speaker at the Anti-Marijuana cocktail party
He has a “Buy American” bumper sticker on his Subaru
He is tolerant, unbiased and broadminded
He refuses to wear his hood at clan rallies
He read “Soul on Ice” during brotherhood week
He often tells how he once bought a magazine from a Hare Krishna freak.
He and the kids watch the sports channels to see the benefits of exercise
 Mr. Solid Citizen

Friday, December 9, 2011

October Sky

While crossing a river bridge near home on October 11:

Undecided?                    Confused?
Desperately grasping Summer's last threads
Preparing a threshold for Autumn's changes
Choosing every shade of gray from her palette
Some cobalt blue for a dark shade
A window of sky blue in case sun rays wander by
 A complete Libran attitude
All options open
Knowing Autumn's color demands a chill
Reluctant to depart from Summer's warmth
Undecided, not confused
Committed to both
Smooth transitions take time
Take your time
Some say 'chill' when they mean realax
October sky
Enjoy the show

Saturday, November 26, 2011


This post sat in draft form in a dusty corner of my blog.  I just pulled it out of hiding, gave it a quick dusting and so , here 'tis

It occurs to me that posting quotes about creativity is kind of hollow without a statement of my own thoughts and musings about the subject.I once read a statement from some unknown author that said,"Creativity is one of the means by which humans liberate themselves from the fetters, not only of their conditioned responses, but also from their usual choices.  However, creativity is not simply originality and unlimited freedom.  There is much more to it than that.  It also imposes restrictions.  While it uses methods other than those of ordinary thinking, it must not be in disagreement with ordinary thinking - or rather it must be something that sooner or later ordinary thinking will understand , accept and appreciate.  Otherwise the results will be bizarre, not creative."

All of that got me thinking, so I added my own thoughts, as follows.

Creativity is a way of life. It is deep within whatever it is that makes you GO!  It is far from an automatic process that can be monitored at random, but it is omnipresent and continuously functioning. It doesn't demand inspiration and is not necessarily triggered by unique circumstances.  Every moment of every day, whether exhilarating or mundane, stimulates the creative process.
The peaks of excitement in a lifetime should not have any different impact on creative activity than the lowest doldrums you reach.  Your own miraculous existence is the seat of your creativity.  Harness it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Creativity Quotes

He ain't wrong, he's just different and his pride won't let him do things to make you think he's right.
(Willy Nelson "Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys)

I'd rather burn out than rust!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creativity Quotes

This is the first of many quotes I will post on the topic of creativitySome will be forthright,some subtle and some downright obtuse, but all will address the topic from many vantage points.  ENJOY!

  • Happiness and beauty are the by-products.  Folly is the direct pursuit of happiness and beauty.

    G.B. Shaw

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Work in Progress

I am working on a novel set in Ireland in the 1600's. It begins in a town close by the castle of the Prince of Breffni.  The castle today is known as Parke's Castle and it sits on the shore of Lough Gill between counties Sligo and Leitrim. My fictitious family is on the threshold of feeling the impact of Oliver Cromwell's invasion of Ireland and all that follows......Stay tuned.


Monday, November 7, 2011


Writing based on observations of ordinary people going through their typical day of life raised my awareness of just how many people walk around seeming totally unaware of what's going on around them.  I felt privileged that my awareness provided me with a front row seat to the street theater that happens every day in a big city.  Drama that unfolded for me on my lunch hour was transparent to others as they moved in lock step back to their jobs



Relating only to what’s in front of their noses
The real essence of life passes by, flowing freely
And it can never be touched without reaching

Compressed in their own private niche of existence
Like a race horse, just seeing the track ahead
Wearing blinders to keep the mind focused on nothing

Like lying face down on the floor of a forest
Aware of the mosses, grub worms and leaf mold
The towering redwoods above – unnoticed

Forging ahead to your own Armageddon
Pause for a moment – reflect on life’s rhythm
Turn around – the whole world is right there behind you.

Greyhound Travelers

People watching took me to places where people assemble.  From the library to the bus stops, to park benches and the bus station. Quiet observation provided witnessing many unfolding dramas.  The following provides a few.



Your face shows youth and experience
Your hair is long and well groomed
The baby in your arms shows that you’ve carried few
A cardboard box tied with string goes as your baggage
Where to little mother?
Are you running from?
Going to?
Running with?
Going back?
Smile sad eyes
You’re young
You’ll bounce back
You will find it
Or lose it
You’ll have joy

Drafted hick
Strictly country
Well dressed
Hurtin’ bad
Bummin’ bread
Don’t understand
But compassionate
But unselfish
Pocket searching
Comes up empty
Grabs his sleeve
Country sweats
His bus is called

Lonesome Marine
Home with a buddy
Your eyes long for
Another time
Another place
A place of your own
To go to
But where?
Maybe never
A friendly smile
From your buddy’s girl
They’ll show you a good time
Home cooked meals
A date with her girl friend
They’ll all try
To make you happy.
Some how
They will fail

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Working in any large city and even small towns, one is frequently confronted by panhandlers. Many who are down on their luck turn for solace to alcohol.  The following is based on many such confrontations with desperate, albeit creative panhandlers.


Winos should be authors
For the stories they invent
Are designed to touch the hearts of prosperous men
Their eloquence on tough luck
Is unmatched in all the world
And they’ll tell their sad story when ‘ere they can

They’ll tell you they need only
Eight more cents to buy a meal
As you reach in your pocket you know damn well
That as soon as you touch their dirty palm
With a little piece of change
They’ll go and blow it all on muscatel

They’ll ask you for direction
To a local cheap hotel
And ask for a little help to buy a bed
They’ll tell you how their pride
Is crushed to have to beg
And their wine soaked breath's enough to knock you dead

They’ll tell you of a family
Left starving in the hills
While they hitched a ride to town to find a job
Through tearful eyes they’ll tell you
That work is hard to find
And they’ll ask you for some money with a sob

Sometimes with open honesty
They’ll meet you on the street
Sayin’, “Buddy would you be a pal of mine?”
I’m down on my luck
Could you spare a little change
To help a drunk like me to buy some wine?

You’ll hear a hundred stories
From a hundred different smokes
And sad to say that most are probably true
They’ll touch your heart for sympathy
When they tell their woeful tales
If someone’s going to help, it must be you

Winos should be authors
For if they had the will to write
They could tell the whole world about their pain
If they could put their tragedy
In poetry or prose
Instead of muscatel, they’d drink champagne.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Literary Drifters

December, 1969.  Working in downtown Baltimore, attending Johns Hopkins at night, spent many lunch hours doing research at the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Library. Research from the books the primary agenda, but observations of people started me on a quest to record what I saw.  This and future Blogs will, on occasion, include some of these observations

Literary Drifter

Bleak, marrow stiff, winter.
Ragged cuff wanderers become conveniently literary
Pratt’s Public Library offers warm sanctuary
The vagabond nods behind an unread book, randomly chosen
The old guard, per chance a former wanderer
Chooses not to notice the feigned intellect of his fellow
Undisturbed, the drifter dreams of summer.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Call Yourself a Poet?

OK, then are you:
A word painter? Language photographer? Phrase potter?
Sentence sculptor? Gerund gardener? Composition chef?
Emotion masseuse? Brain yegg?  Metaphor mechanic?
Simile surgeon? Allegory acrobat? Alliteration aviator?

OK, then can your:
Words make me see the world?
Phrase bring a tear?
Rhyme bring god into focus?
Couplet blur reality?
Sonnets freeze time?

Ok, when you write your words:
Do I know you?
Do they get in my guts?
Do they make my brain gears mesh?
Are they stronger than your foundations?
Are you a time stretcher reliving the past?
Are you a time cruncher inventing futures?

Words went to other planets before Hubble's lens opened the window for a peek!

Every answer deserves another question!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

When humans landed on the moon few failed to notice the schism created between humans here at home on the blue planet.  First heavy thoughts put on paper.  (For posterity?  To assuage my own guilt feelings?)


Random Thoughts Recorded During the Week of July 20, 1969 During the Flight of Apollo 11

The LEM touched down on the lunar surface
A commercial pilot, stacked over O’Hare heard the news and was glad

All men on Earth witnessed as the Eagle landed.
Nearby, Luna 15, on an unexplained mission, also landed.

Armstrong and Aldrin placed their footprints in the dust and their names in the history books,
While 240,000 miles away, earthmen watched every step.
69 miles away, Cooper, flying Columbia, didn’t have a video monitor.

The whole world watched, awe struck, and waited.
Many Americans missed their regular TV programs, and complained.

The crime rate was down.  Criminals became interested viewers.
The AFS students at Lindenbaum’s called a recess to their love-in, and for a while, they too were interested.

While the Astronauts work on the moon, five ghetto children sit with their mother in a bare flat (third floor rear) watching on a color TV.
They do not understand.  Their fathers are not there to explain it all to them.  They are bored.
They go to bed ----- hungry!

Eagle came “in peace for all mankind”.
Both sides counted their dead in Viet Nam

Over a million in tools is left on the moon.
Another child starved to death in Biafra.

The return cargo, a priceless box of dirt, rocks and secrets.
Another rock, bearing the secrets of a black man’s soul, smashes a window in York Pa.

The Hornet crew earns their “E” for a flawless recovery.
During reentry and splash down, had a crisis arisen, would the crew or the cargo be saved?

A family in a hospital waiting room watches through wet eyes, the elaborate decontamination process to protect the earth from possible lunar bacteria.
Nearby, in a clean darkened room, one of their own, numbed by drugs, quietly succumbs to cancer.

The door to the universe swings open, and rushing to go through, man stumbles on the clutter of his world

Here We Go

So what is the meaning of Breffni to Baltimore?  Starting a search for roots, I was born in Baltimore. Close as i can tell, my Irish ancestors were of the tribe, clan, sept of the Prince of Breffni, "The O'Ruaric" in County Leitrim.  So the branches of my family tree spread far and wide.  This blog will be an outlet for what has flowed from my moods, my passions, my hopes, my fears, some of which found its way to paper, and of late to digital files.  Most of my poetry has never been seen outside the family and a few intimate friends, but, over time, it will appear in this blog.

So here we go!