Telling it like it is vs Being Plain Spoken


There’s a difference between someone who speaks plainly and someone who ‘tells it like it is.’
The first is born of time as well as deciding what’s important and the second is born of a lack of home training.
There are so many people out there ready to ‘tell it like it is,’ hell, we’ve just elected a president whose supporters say this is his greatest feature.
But if you really want to confront something – try confronting yourself.
Because you see, when you confront yourself and all that’s wrong with you – when you take a deep hard look at what’s going on between your ears and in your heart – when you decide to face down your demons, you’ll find they’re legion.
You’ll discover that for every negative thing you can say about someone else, there are ten things someone could say about you.
That – starts a journey of self-discovery. You figure out what’s important and what isn’t. You’ll find out who your friends are and who are simply acquaintances. You start to establish boundaries. You figure out what you’ll accept in your life and what you won’t.
Essentially, that ‘I tell it like it is’ person, grows up, stops being superficial and decides that they’re too old for people’s bullshit.
Along the way – they’ll find out that a lot of people don’t like that. But then right around the corner – they’ll realize that a lot of people just don’t matter.
I am not saying that these people are less – but if the people you talk to on social media will not either attend your wedding or – better yet – funeral, why sweat them?
Most people in life are lucky if they find a spouse and a friend or two – to walk through this life with. That, no matter what, will always be there. Worry about your relationship with them. Tell them, often, how much you love them. What they mean to you. Be willing to get raw with them and let them see what and who you really are and be willing to see what and who they are with that same measure of acceptance.
Those are the ties that bind. Those are the connections that mean the most – not the guy who speaks to you as a woman the way he does because he doesn’t love his mother, not the uber-feminist who can’t defend her point of view and tries to invalidate your point of view because you happen to have a penis, not the political troll, nor the religious kook, nor some person who dismisses you because there’s fire in your speech – who can’t conceptualize your life or articulate your little finger.
Don’t let it fill up your space, don’t let them live rent free in your head.
Any relationship worth having comes at some measure of risk involved, sure. But choose wisely and you’ll avoid the social media’s equivalent of the clap.
9.9/10’s of the ‘tell it like it is crowd’ only use you to describe 100 percent who they are.
It may cost you popularity – it may cost you ‘friends’, ‘likes’, and ‘follows’, but I guarantee you – at the end of the day you’re better off. Walking the tightrope of ‘oh, God, what do I say to this? How do I respond to that?” is no way to live. If you wouldn’t put up with that kind of life from a spouse, why live that way with people you may never meet in life?
Polonius in Hamlet said this, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Basically, know you so when someone steps to you with some crazy bullshit – you can show them the lobby where they can take a seat and wait to get called on.

Memory from an aging soul (Poem)



I can remember gossamer spider’s threads
dancing gently in the morning’s soft breeze
amid rose buds near my left hand
sunlight dripping off maple leaves and
the trees swaying in hushed whispers

upon my grandfather’s tilted front porch
the front door open and the smell of frying grease wafting out
the smell of a camel cigarette burning tossed into the lawn
I’m but a boy
in shorts and a t-shirt
complete with new soul smell

observing the light as it is fresh in the city sky

God, I can see it all
I can feel the heat of it on my face
feel the wood still cool from the night before
as my foot slides down to the next step
slick with the dew of the grass I trod upon

my grandfather, long in the tooth, and in the face, and in life
sitting in a lawn chair his voice too far away in my memory to be heard
and my grandmother standing behind me, hand on her thick hip
watching the street with an old dishrag in her hand

An America flag flies near my head
stars and stripes and blue of royalty
but us ramshackle folk
Irish in our tempers
poor Catholic descendants
all sit in the quiet morning sunlight
in a memory from some deep recess
of my aging soul

What makes a man, a man? (poem)



What is it about my sex?
exuding strength, agility, power
is it the energy?
potential and kinetic?
that makes a man a man?

Is it the muscle, the scent
is it the potential to create life
from my loins
or take it away with my hands?
what makes a man, a man?

is it the crossroads of hard and tender
hungry and horny and needing to be needed?
is it the testosterone that rages in my body
making my blood boil
or is the feathery kisses and tender words spoken
when the sun peeks through the window in the morning?
What makes a man, a man?

and to what do we say to those
men who seek the same things they themselves possess?
that desire the same intersection of power and submissiveness?
that need equal to them or greater
someone with whom to share their life with
what makes a man, want men?

I revel in my desire, my body, my mind
Yet, I feel the pinpricks of love pierce
the beating heart in my chest
and have come to some conclusion, a truth of what
and who I am

that man made male in gender is one thing
but to be a man one must decide what to do with one’s power
so being a man isn’t male, your sex and orientation is an assignment
what makes a man, a man
is a choice.

Grey November Prayer (Poem)


(Photo by : Todd Quackenbush)

November falling rain
with the leaves as slick as oil
the air crisp and clean burns my lungs
as the air is heavy with rain

a gray sheen lays wearily on the trees
and on the grasses, turning the lake to shale with white caps
wrapped up in loneliness a seagull cries out
it’s voice piercing the day like a dagger

I’ve come to the water’s edge
to breathe in the holiness of my surroundings
and feel the cold world seep through my shoes

there is no warmth but the warmth of my body
wrapped up and caved in on itself as I brace from the cold
my ears turned pink as if the wind has embarrassed me
as if the day knows my reasoning for being here

what is it I seek among the rocks and high grasses
another lonely soul
another figure with his hands shoved into his pockets?
his body emerging from the treeline?
or maybe a pair of brown eyes as warm as the inside of my Carhart with a jaw as firm as the concrete I stand upon?

And his hands, what of his hands? Warm and calloused? Will he smell of peppermint and something warmer? Will he be relieved to see me?

There on the lakeside, I pleaded
with the gray sky above me
for answers to unasked questions and for tenderness and mercy
I am answered only by the cry of the gull as the skies open up with a misty rain falling on the lone soul
as I stare out on a freshwater sea.

The Stars in Our Heavens


Many years ago, when ships navigated the waters of the world without modern technology – they looked heavenward, Ship Captains looked to the stars to figure out where they were, where they were going, and how to get back home again.

At the founding of our nation, Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in The Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal. That they are endowed, by their creator, with certain inalienable rights. That among those rights were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Knowingly casting who we wanted to be – as a nation, as a people – high up into the night’s sky.

And while those words did not – in any way – guarantee smooth sailing, for this country was and still is wrought with conflict of race, religion, skin color, sexual orientation – those words became a focal point. A goal. Far-flung up to the highest point in the heavens and even though potentially unreachable – nevertheless was a place our country could cast it’s gaze when it felt like it was shifting too far in any given direction. Or if it was feeling lost, off course.

It’s in THOSE WORDS we find our truth once declared before God and the foundations of this earth, as well as a challenge to the greatest empire the world had ever seen as well as their king.

Our veritas, our truth.

The truth is not in the eye of the beholder, that’s a fool’s statement, words of a moral relativist. The truth never moves. It is constant. A truth is eternal. It may get covered up. Clouds may pass over – blinding us from the light of truth – but it cannot remove that star, that truth, from being. It is still there shining down regardless of whatever storm blows up obstructing its light.

Now, there may be those who wish to cloud up our skies to keep us from seeing it. There are pedants who strike at the hand that wrote those words demanding his name be eradicated from history’s texts. But in doing so they risk their own eradication as much as those that cloud up the skies do. Their purist arguments are often reductive.

Everything today feels wrong because it is. This throwing out of illegal immigrants without rational. This sudden movement shift to the right. This purist ‘America first’ mentality which harkens back to darker days of the early 20th century. This is all obfuscation. Donald Trump and his ilk, as well as his supporters, are nothing more than a storm that’s blown up.

As Americans, we need to look up and cast our gaze back upon our truth. Then and only then, will we begin to navigate these choppy and suddenly unsafe waters we sail today. We are off course. We are not living up to who WE said we were. And we do so, to our own peril. Regardless of where you stand politically. We have denied ourselves of OUR Truth. No immigrant, nor a terrorist, nor foreign power can remove that truth from us. That’s something only we can do. Something we’re doing to ourselves, right now.

And if we’re not careful, we’ll run her aground. Look up, America. Get your bearings. Get your sea legs back. Get YOUR TRUTH, BACK!

Semper Avanti.

Blogger Recognition Award


I was nominated by the beautiful, bodacious, brilliant, buxom, beauty  Aurora Jean Alexander.

Blogger Recognition Award Rules

  • Thank the blogger/s who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Write a post about the Blogger Recognition Award
  • Briefly tell how your blog started
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select 15 bloggers to give this award to


How I started

I started keeping a blog because my husband and I decided – mutually – that I should pursue writing. And I did. My first book was published and suddenly I was inundated with rules about being a successful writer. And one of those rules was to ‘keep an active social media space’ which included blogging. However, as one publication turned to two, two to three, and so on ….as my writing and my outlook on the world started to mature as I embraced the idea of being an artist – I started doing what other artists do and became socially conscious. LOL.

Because I have to draw from the world for ideas, I figured that I must give something back to it (the world) in return. So, I cut off my author persona to this blog and opted instead to publish poetry on here exclusively as well as ‘think pieces’ about the world as a whole. But I didn’t want to exist in an echo chamber either. I didn’t want to be a part of group think. So, what I write – be it right or wrong – is from an open and honest internal dialogue while I try and muddle through this thing we call life.


Two pieces of advice

  1. No matter what’s trendy. No matter what’s popular. No matter who speaks out against you – always think for yourself. Always write what’s in your heart- even if, later on, you discover you’re dead wrong – you can’t grow otherwise. So much is wrapped up in public persona’s nowadays, so much is ‘reality t.v.’ oriented that people have become superficial. They may exist in public – but that person isn’t real. They’re hiding in plain sight. Be true to you and the rest will fall into place.
  2. Writing is about connecting to people. Whether it’s a blog or a book or a song – it’s always about touching someone’s life and in turn being touched by them. The reader/ writer relationship is, by its very nature, symbiotic. One CANNOT exist without the other. Technology today has flipped that dynamic in such a way that while the aforementioned remains true – the environment has become somewhat anemic. Outside of blogging – NEVER EVER EVER give your work away for free. Ever. You and your craft are worth the effort you put into it. Never sell yourself short.


I nominate



Our Soviet State of Mind or WWRD (What Would Ronnie Do?)



I was born April 12, 1981. On the day I was born, the shuttle Columbia was on it’s maiden voyage. And when I was a little guy – Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.
I was so little at the time I was really unaware of who he was – except that he would be on television from time to time.
I remember seeing his face, and his wife Nancy’s face flash across the television screen briefly.
But the memory that sticks out in my head the most is when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.
I remember watching it happen with my sister Sam.
I knew something really bad had gone on.
I also remember, later on, this man came on television, Dressed in a dark suit, as he addressed the country.
“My fellow Americans.”
I remember seeing his face and thinking he’s at least as old as my grandpa and not as young as Mr. Rogers – at least as old as Mr. Dressup.
It was January 28th, 1986.
I remember the comforting sound of his voice. The deep baritone timber as he honored Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Reznick, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, and teacher Christa McAuliffe.
To the schoolchildren, myself included, The President said this, “And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.”
As he extolled the virtues of our space program and our quest to the stars – he comforted a nation, as well as NASA, that had been rocked by this tragedy.
With his final words memorialized forever, we heard this bit of poetry as he described the final moments of the astronaut’s final mission as they left us all, “….and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”
I remember being comforted by those words from a man who’s power I couldn’t quite understand at that age. The power that – until recently – has been for the most part, benevolent.
But a lot has changed in this country since he was alive. Some for the good but most recently, for the bad.
The biggest of Ronnie’s legacy – despite the AIDS epidemic that scared it, despite the recession, despite the assassination attempt on his life by a Christian fundamentalist with a weird obsession for Jodi Foster – was his staring down The Soviet Union.
Since WW2, the United States had waged what had become known as A Cold War with the far eastern nation – and growing up I knew in no uncertain terms, communism was wrong.
In the 1990’s the USSR crumbled and fell apart because of Ronald Reagan outspending the Soviet Union in military buildup – up to, and including, a missile defense shield and a project called “star wars” that was intended to protect our allies in Europe by striking down Russian nuclear weapons.
But while Ronald Reagan has been gone lo these many years – and a lot has changed in this country in just the beginning of this year – there is an old enemy out there who’s managed, somehow, to worm his way into our political world. His name is Vladamir Putin. While he may be the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation – as they call themselves today – he’s also the former head of the Russian Intelligence Agency known during the time of Reagan as the KGB.
Mr. Putin as said repeatedly that the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the fall of the Soviet Union. Which I don’t doubt, since, under his leadership hundreds of Civil Rights Attorneys have gone missing, political dissidents have been found murdered, political dissidents in foreign cities’ like London, were poisoned and there is plenty of reason to believe that Putin hacked into our own Presidential Election to help bolster Donald Trump for President. He also participated in a propaganda war – inside of the United States – that was used to jerry-rig American sentiment regarding our democratic process.
Since Donald Trump has been sworn in – There have been bans on Muslims entering the country, there have been appointments of known anti-Semitic people like Bannon. There have been appointments of people like Betsy Devos who would tear down public education. There has even been an appointment to Attorney General – the highest law enforcement officer in the country – that is so outrageous if I didn’t see it on the news I’m so belligerently angry about – I wouldn’t believe it. That was the nomination of Jeff Sessions – an uber religious bigot.
But the biggest fear I have – and I think the country should all have – is that the once proud party of Lincoln and of Ronald Reagan has put a Soviet Sympathizer inside of our White House in our head of state -Donald Trump. And I am going to use Soviet as a descriptor as Russia is a democracy in name only and Vladamir is a Prime Minister – in name only as once a year Russia’s city Volgograd fights to become Stalingrad again.
Many years ago – it was hypothesized by Russian politicians that America would never fail because of its morality. It was assumed at the time that that morality was wrapped up in a certain kind of people here in the United States – and that once America allowed homosexuality to run rampant – then, and only then, would they (The Russians) gain a foothold in our territory.
But, Ironically enough it isn’t ‘the gays’ nor was it ‘the left’ whom McCarthy went after in the 1950’s so viciously – that ultimately handed over the keys to our kingdom to Soviet interests.
It was the ‘moral’ among us – who lacking any kind of personal heroes among themselves strong enough and powerful enough to bolster their voting bloc- who found a love for an old enemy through the vulgarity of this current administration.
It was this group of people, of baby boomers, evangelicals, degree holding white men, anti-feminist / anti- equality females, who – out of fear of losing their stranglehold on a country that was doing its best to grow up and out of a lot of old hang-ups it had, turned and smiled at a warmongering dictator, a known murderer of his own people, while turning their backs on a country their parents and grandparents and children fought so hard to protect. And found themselves inspired by him.
They – who had accused Barack Obama of every possible thing a human being could be accused of – from communist to fascist, from racist to a supporter of religious zealots – turned around and handed the country to Donald Trump and his posse who embody every accusation that laid at Obama’s feet.
There are plenty of reasons to be afraid right now. Just like those days when space flight was in its infancy – what to do next feels like the million dollar question. But right – is ALWAYS right no matter who says it’s wrong. And while America has had days when it’s been wrong, it’s always struggled and struggled hard to be the shining city on the hill.
Going forward, even in the darkness that has descended on our world, even amidst the uncertainty of this current administration – we should know that the face of God is still out there to be touched.
That bravery and patriotism and love of country are still there to be claimed and that light on the hill is still there to guide our way home. This land is still our land and we are still Americans. That still means something.
So, I encourage you all to reach back into your memory. Reach back to the days after 9/11 when our country rallied around itself, reach back to the days when Barack told us the enemy of our country – Osama Bin Laden was killed in a raid, reach back to when George Bush Sr. defeated Sadam Hussein’s forces in Kuwait, reach back to when the wall that divided East Germany from West came crashing down, reach back to when the forces for good triumphed over evil – go back to a time when clear lines were drawn in the sand and draw one for yourself now.
For ladies and gentlemen, despite the bluster of twitter, despite the ‘moral’ princes in high places being appointed for special task forces to take on and reforming ‘higher education’, despite the rash out hate crimes being perpetrated by cowards in the night – despite the ban on refugee’s, understand the biggest and most sincere threat to this country remains the worst.
There is a Soviet lurking in the shadows within our country – and his un-American president is sitting in our White House. To quote Ronnie, “I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”

We must be brave. God Bless Us All.

The Fundamentalist Inside Me.



The fundamentalist in my head – that little part of me – that ‘thing’ so wretched and vile, so unmerciful and braggadocious, has been whispering to me all day.
In that corner of my consciousness. In the back where I keep the memories of the past so malignant like cancer, that stinks like spoiled meat, has been echoing its angry voice through my head all day.
I see in my head truth becoming a lie. Facts have become fiction. Climate change is ignored for coal production and more fossil fuel extraction.
I see in my head the rise of authoritarianism. Conway is calling the media the ‘instigators’ of trouble – when her boss is the ultimate trouble maker. For having whipped a country into a feeding frenzy with the wretchedness of his speech.
Although, I see compassion blazing white hot. When a Mosque was burnt to the ground due to the encouragement by the sitting president to mistreat foreigners and strangers – Jews, the people Christ first went to, the most persecuted people in history, hand over the keys of their synagogue for their distant cousins to worship. And when I see people march for their rights, for their futures, and for their posterity – it is met with scorn and ridicule from a populace that’s been encouraged to bear its teeth.
I see the rise of white supremacy. “Go back home,” “We don’t want your kind here.” “Speak English.” “Build a wall.” “Turn refugees back.” “Make America Great Again.”
I see the rise of fascism. “The newsmen are all liars.” Denial of Russian Involvement in this election. Denial of the popular vote. The rising up of power hungry preachers into key positions in government ‘to investigate’ higher learning. The placement of a woman to teach children ‘creationism’ in place of good, solid, fact-based science. Someone who will eradicate history. The great agitators who speak of Christ out of one side of their mouth yet starve men in the streets, cut off workers compensation, make health care less affordable, while living in palatial splendor. Those who castigated the Popes of old and called the church “The Great Whore’ while wearing thigh high boots on television with their 1-800 numbers convincing old women to endorse their social security checks to them. Men, more in love with power than the God they pretend to serve.
While that Pope, seemingly powerless, begs the world not to head into the direction it is heading. While he tries – maybe in vain – to steer the world back from the brink by reminding them of supremacy’s failed history. While he tries to hold back the flood.
I see a nation teetering on the edge of oblivion. While the world shudders in horror and absolute fear. I sense a war on the horizon. The drums beating down from inside the bowels of the earth. Perhaps The Church was His church after all.
No, that little troll isn’t warning me. He’s celebrating. He’s basking in the glow of what he sees as this ‘world’s’ comeuppance. He is the one so filled with rage and contempt for the world that didn’t lock step into what he thought it should be. They didn’t believe exactly how he believed. He who thinks himself superior to all others. He who thinks he is saved of the saved and everyone else is damned. This is the voice of radical. This is the voice of a hatemonger. This is a fearful and loathsome creature who can never ever be satisfied.
And no – Donald Trump is not the Antichrist. No. To Republicans and their voters – he is revenge. He is justice. He is law and order. He is no longer having to bite their tongue when someone whom they consider lesser demands equality. He is no longer having to bite their tongue when cruelty and malice rage forth like bile. That turn a blind eye when they see someone on the street hungry and abandoned. When they blame the woman alone for becoming pregnant. When they call a soldier a hero but the veteran a drag on society. No, Donald Trump is their hero.
To us -who know better – He is the Beast.
We’re gonna need a bigger boat.