Into The Fire



The blazing fire inspires me
Flickering with authority
Perhaps it ‘s the danger
The power of its incandescence
Which commands my will
Intimidates my life blood
Entrances my inner self
The vivid burning embers
Capturing my imagination
Pleases my wishful eyes
But it’s the pluming smoke
That holds the true stories
The secrets of the flame
Reaching into my eyes
Coaxing saline droplets
Forcing thoughts upon me
Helping me remember
Things I want to forget
As I gloomily sift through
The ashes of my anguish
Hoping to erase the sad
Live and Love in Peace

What’s That Daddy? A Question of Perspective



Why are you crying Dad
Are you happy or sad?
Right now I’m sad my love
Why do we get sad Dad?
Sadness is part of life Baby Girl
As sorrows burrow
Deep within our selves
It leaves an empty tunnel
To be filled with joy
You fill that tunnel for me everyday
Sometimes it’s okay to be sad
Because happiness exists after sadness
The beautiful sound you hear
When you play the violin
Was born in the anguish of a tree
That grew sad as it was torn down
That wine that brings me joy
Was squeezed from the berry
Born of the tears of the vine tender
Shed when we extracted its luscious fruits

Happiness and sadness both exist within you
Your heart holds near these truths
To enriches all the treasures
Of your infinite depth
Revealed to your soul
Yet not to your eyes
For you don’t see happiness
But you know when it here
Only through life sap in your eyes
The tears of sorrow and joy
Can you meet your true being
And walk together always
Hand in hand with emotion
Through the good and the bad

Live and love in peace

From the very first moment our children point and ask “what’s that” we transform from average people to all knowing parents. They look to us for answers from that day forward and with the right perspective we can become the fountain they’re thirst of knowledge is quenched from forever more. It’s all about offering perspective…….




Last night
I had a dream
I dreamt
It was the last night
Of my life
But when I woke
Tomorrow was waiting
To hear my song
To see me dance
To feel my touch
So I sang, and danced, and felt
In case it’s my last
Every night is a last night
For something
Or someone
One last sunset
One last breath
Each note can be the last note
Every dance can be the last dance
The last touch can be the last feeling
Any night can be the last night
Any day could be the last day
Live and love in peace today
And every day





I’ve known joy, elation, and glee
I’ve known grief, rage, and pain
I’ve cried in a thunderstorm
Sang and danced in the rain
They’re just reflections of my perceptions
Or maybe a collective of misconceptions

What is Pleasure but
Desires reaped
From joys sown
A song unbound
Waiting to be sung
With totality of heart
The harvest of jubilation
From seeds of serenity
Rising of new days
Dances of excitement
Unbreakable smiles
Basking freely in
The Absence of sorrow
The desertion of pain


What is Pain but
The unmasking of joy
Disrobing of contentment
Standing alone
Emotionally naked
Void of élan
A fallen tree cries
But no one hears
Save its homeless residents
A blind man wails
Unable to resolve
The mystery of sight
An abused child quits
Unable to resolve
The mystery of night
A foreboding tale
Of love not met
Drenched in regret

What is Regret but
Chastisement of self
Over performance pernicious
Castigation blurred in fog
The haze of poor choice
Perhaps of inebriation
Of mind or soul
Self flagellation
Unable to forgive
Your own heart
For betraying it’s secrets
To a well of guilt’s
Which quenches no thirst
A lesson learned
Not a burden to the wind
But a winged flight
To a better future
Time offers perspective
Accept it

Last Christmas



What if last Christmas

Was your last Christmas

Would it change the way live

What if last summer

Was your last summer

Would it change the way you love

What if last week

Was your last week

Would it change the way you laugh


Would it change your today

Would it change you’re here and now

Any today

Can be your last day

Your last tomorrow

Your last yesterday

Your last Christmas

Your last breath

Stand tall

Free yourself from the negatives

Let go of grudges

Grudges become exponentially heavier

To carry a grudge

Is detrimental to your posture

Let them go

Feel the freedom of peace

Enjoy life
Don’t live love or laugh alone

Brave each day with a smile

Wear it and share it

For anger is an infectious disease

Anger destroys

Don’t sacrifice the good in your heart

For empty words of anger

Feel the freedom of peace

Don’t wait until its yesterday

Yesterdays gather rust

Or get stored in the attic

Change the way you laugh

The way you love

The way you live


Don’t live behind yourself

Live with love

Live with laughter

Live with life

But live






Inspiration and The Muse


Inspiration is the air we breath, the sunset we watch
The music of life we feel as our souls dance in the wind
Sounds played so indiscreet it scatters hope along horizons
Songs that only a dreamer could dream
Gently pouring Meade from jugs of hallowed thought
Filling the skies with promises whispered in the shade
But fulfilled in the heart

Inspiration is
Breaking fences to allow passage for the wonton desires
To frolic in the garden of life’s labor found
This garden planted from the spark of arduous hope
Seeds of impulse illuminated glowing in amber beginnings
Awakening the harmonious cosmic perception of spirit
Growing and sprouting glorious rainbows of edible life
Brought fourth by the haughty tango of bee and stamen
Flower and insect wrapped in a dances of passion
Openly making love in the garden of growth

Inspiration is in that garden
I lay humble in its triumphant essence alone to think
To ponder the mysteries of the self
This meal I cook is a poem of sustenance
The aria I sing from the voice of love
Tunes conceived under covers of darkened rooms
These words I write are a symphonies of my inspirations
My gratitude now hangs on the walls of a cerebral museum
Belonging to the muse

The Muse

Let the muse light your fuse
Set your mind afire
You could use to lose the blues
Inspired with desire

They motivate and invigorate
Fan the flames with rapture
First they locate then they rotate
Spin you as their captor

Don’t expire the muses fire
Let your intellect grow
They’ll take you higher above the mire
Your muse will make you glow

The Dreamers Lament


(Inspired by a Welsh poet who refused to go gentle into that good night)

I was the king of the evening
Time as my mistress
Many darkness’s ago
Life beckoned at my call
I was going to survive forever
Time clutched me close to her breast
A pillow of confidence
Embraced me with endlessness
Swam alongside me
A vast ocean of pleasures
Awarded me her grace
Filling my vessel with
Warm compassionate smiles
And enough comfort to keep me amused
Whispering promises
So many promises
Whispering dreams
Dreams of greatness and grandeur
Oh the potential of the dreams
Dreams she only lent me
Endowed me dominion over the nights
Left me to writhe in the passion filled light
All of my nights

When my world needed seeing
She shone her light across my obscurity
Whispered close
“Your dreams yet to come will burst with elations
Don’t rush past in haste my love
Live inside them and breathe
The brass spiral is yours for the taking
And the world yours to embrace”
Time held my hand to her heart
Laid my head on her shoulder
Hair smelling of sweet promise
Vows were confided
“My prophecy is a life of bliss
But it comes with condition
Embrace them together
And head this warning my love
Don’t close your eyes or blink
You may miss precious moments”
She looked past me into the horizon
Eyes hinting sadness of that yet to come
Foretelling misfortune
Together we shared a teardrop
And a moment

Time is a calculating prophet
I wish I had paid closer attention
To the prophecy I was bound to fulfill
Blindly I continued chasing the air
Sunrises and sunsets came and then left
Leaving me lonely and tired of eyes
Until her prophecy emerged
I shut my eyes too tightly to see
For only one brief second
Moments morphed into memories
Both time and I grew older of age
As time got more distant she added some pounds
Placed the weight of the world on my back
Stripped me my carefree title of midnights
Made me slave of my own 9 to 5
Stresses of lifetimes pulling me down
Gravitationally held in a rut
Please I begged spare me the onus
No longer can I bear the demand

Time offered me beverage of self confident stupor
To lighten the load of minutia
Took more than my share too many times
Filled my lungs with wisps of contentment and joy
Laughing my way past my life
Found euphoric fulfillment in carnal release
Searching for intimate solace
Passions moaned softly under silken enticements
Blissfully moaning in tandem with love
In the midst of salacious confusion
Of blind indulgence I blinked once again
I stood still as the dream ran right past me
Forgotten moments tucked under its arm
My eyes became heavy with lost opportunity
Too much weight for my tear ducts to bear
Dejected I blinked once again
In an instant it they were all gone
Leaving me alone to negotiate the forest ferocious
Void of strength to fight
Unable to flee
Unwilling to reload
Not one second longer can I face the dangers I once braved
Behind me ashes of yesterdays
Billowing smoke of pale ghost dreams
Time has left me for another
But I’m too tired to cry

“Why must it take so long,” I inquired
“Why must it be so long?”
Time blinked
Confused by my query
Once more I offered my dreary supplication
I waded in my own teardrop
“Why must it take so God damn long to die?”
Time held me tender caressing my head
“Close your eyes my love, and let me hold you a while ”
Time sang a song so soft and sweet
Her lullaby sounded just like a dream

Two Teachers, From Sir With Love

two teach

How did I end up here? So many years spend meandering through paths ,so many detours, and now I sit with a handful of accomplishments that have long ago worn out there welcome and a plethora of stories to tell. Not much else. True every once in a while I get another flicker of brilliance, a new recipe here, a great idea for a short story there, but overall nothing lasting. Now instead of looking to see what’s up ahead in the path I find myself peeking backward noting where I may have chosen a path better to have avoided, or another better to have taken. That’s the lament of aging, reflecting on where we’ve been and where we may have gone, and how we ended up where we are now.
The times I do look in my rearview mirror the most inspiring image I see is two teachers who attempted to direct me along a path they believed not only was I suited for, but a path that was suited for me. During my hours of reflections of my life I often pause and take some time to consider these two women, two adults during my formative years, that were perhaps the only ones who truly believed in me back then. I don’t dwell on what may have been but I do often regret I hadn’t given them as much consideration as they gave me. I can’t go back, no redo, but what I can do is seize the opportunity to give props to two extraordinary teachers. Mrs. Kirshenbaum, and Ms. Kitty Lindsey, though I never showed it you were both a major inspiration to me. This then is for you, with much love from me.
While in the sixth grade my teacher, Mrs. K., told me I had a creative ability and I should consider pursuing a career in writing. But it was sixth grade, I had recently discovered that not only do girls not have cooties, but kissing them was pretty awesome. I had my first steady girlfriend and career was the farthest thing from my mind. Not to be stifled Mrs. K published an essay I wrote in the school paper, The School Bell. The Bell was a four to six sheet newspaper that went to every household. Mrs K. asked the class to write an essay on what we expect of the move from elementary school to junior high school. I titled my essay “Great Expectations”. I hadn’t read the book but saw it in the library and I dug the title. Although filled with misspellings and grammatical miscues it was an intense view of what I expected when we left the confines of elementary school and braved the new world of junior high (middle school to you younger readers) Nothing about Mrs. Habersham, no Pip, that would become required reading much later, but in my Great Expectations I explored the benefits and dangers of going from the comfort of a single classroom to the unknown experiences of numerous teachers in numerous rooms, in a huge school with way too many dark nooks and cranny’s. Not to mention big kids! Mrs. K was blown away, the principal agreed, even Mom liked it, but no one other than Mrs. K mentioned anything about a future associated with writing.
When seventh grade came it was even more of a challenge than I expected and I learned even more about girls which became an obsessive distraction. My writing career was quickly forgotten and remembering locker combinations and girls names became far more important. Halfway into the year I was introduced to another distraction, marijuana. I had been drinking the occasional beer, hanging outside a store until someone of age could be finagled into buying some for beer or Ripple wine for us, but weed opened up a whole new culture. New skills had to be acquired, cleaning the pot, rolling it into joints, getting the red out of our eyes, self control when something seemed so funny I wanted to burst, and maintaining in class. That meant putting my best face forward to look as straight as possible so nary a soul could tell I had smoked weed. Now I had two major forces in my life, girls and weed. Not to brag but I was getting pretty good at both. The school itself performed its expected task, to prepare me for the world I would be thrown into after school is over. They hired guidance counselors to talk to us in 9th grade that would help take our recently shaped minds and steer them towards the area that we were best suited for in “real life”. Good theory, but in practice they met with our parents to discuss where they wanted our fertile minds steered. “He seems to be pretty good in math, maybe a career in the stock market” “Maybe he should take business math, lots of work for accountants.” After tossing around a few ideas they finally asked me what I wanted. By this point I had been smoking weed and was no longer a virgin. I was obsessed with rock and roll, as well as its subculture of Hippiedom. At first I mistakenly believed my parents cared about what I wanted, “Well…..I think joining the Peace Corps would be cool”. The counselor stared blankly, Dad glared angrily, but dear ole Mom was in denial, “Oh he’s just kidding, aren’t you honey? Tell us which of the careers we chose you like the most.” The time had come, “What I want is to choose my own path, not have you guys tell me which way to go. I want to help people, I like being with people and the Peace Corps does great things and helps lots and lots of people. That’s what I want to do. I’ll keep a diary of my travels and maybe someday write a book about it.”
This was the first of a long string of awkward silences I would share with my parents. Finally my Mom laughed, “Oh JT, stop now! That’s not what you really want.” Dad weighed in quickly, “Don’t be a fool JT, there’s no money in the peace corps, just a bunch of dirty hippies, Mr. Gunther has given you some great ideas of what you can do and you’re going to listen to him and decide which one you want!” It was clear I wasn’t needed in the conversation anymore so I just sat there and listened. They proceeded to shape my life for me as I daydreamed, wishing I had a joint in my pocket. When the meeting was over they were all feeling very positive of my future and I had been instructed to read the stock market pages of the newspaper each day. I went back to class discouraged.
For me Senior High started in tenth grade. After three years of building schoolyard creds and being king shits, we were thrown back at the bottom to be tortured and humiliated by the juniors and seniors. Even the janitors picked on us. I learned quickly that my skill of acquiring weed was a fantastic equalizer, and within a month I was accepted into the fold of the older kids who bought weed from me. Also in tenth grade I met the one teacher who, had I allowed her, would have hand led me down a path of writing. In her English class she had us write a short story without boundaries, whatever turned us on. I had two idea’s I wanted to do so I handed both stories to her. The first was a kind of science fantasy, in which the biggest traffic jam in history caused a dome of carbon monoxide killing near everyone. A post apocalyptic before I had a clue what that meant. The second was a tragic love story, kind of my hip version of Bonnie and Clyde that starts out with a young couple in love waking up after a night of heavy LSD tripping outside a stolen cop car. They wake up confused and still stoned at a reservoir that supplies the town below with water and planned a scheme to fill it with liquid LSD. I then went into a few households and described the effects of tripping It was crudely written with not much finesse but jam packed full of twisted imagination. I had drawn on my recent experiments with LSD which at that time had amounted to a half dozen trips. I wrote it in a somewhat rebellious attitude. Mrs. Lindsey, or “Kitty” as she had her students call her asked me to stay behind after reading it.
My original fear was she would chastise me or turn me in for writing about drugs, but to my pleasant surprise she praised the concept and creative spirit and implored me to sign up for her creative writing course. The second influential person in my life assured me I had a talent. I was pretty blown away, I have a warped imagination, but that’s not a talent, that’s a personality trait. Regardless, Kitty felt if I was given instruction I could write, all I needed was to learn sentence structure and grammar, and for someone to unleash my creativity. I thought it was worth a shot so I promised to sign up. Writing was the one thing I had always enjoyed. I had a spiral notebook of poems, observations, and story concepts I titled “Ramblings.” I never let anyone read the notebook because I had the self esteem of an earthworm. Still, I couldn’t wait to get home and give Mom and Dad the good news.
One persons good news is another’s persons complete waste of time. “What the Hell do you mean become a writer? Writing isn’t a real job, you want a real job.” “Dad, you have no idea what I want because you never listen to me. I hate the godamn stock market, I hate business, and I am never going to be an accountant, that’s not what I want.” Mom just cried but Dad wasn’t finished, “I know exactly what you want JT, you want to sit around on your lazy ass all day and watch TV. You think anyone will pay you to do that? No! I’m telling you what you’re gonna be and you will listen young man. You WILL read the stock market everyday, and you Will take business math. I don’t care what this teacher of yours says you do not have any talent and even if you did you’ll never make a living from it. You can tell this Mrs. Lindsey of yours you won’t be in creative writing you’ll be in business math. Kitty! What the hell is this teacher doing having her student call her by a nickname anyway, what the hell are we paying taxes for, for your teacher to be your friend? You will take business math and get this writing crap out of your head now!” That discussion would define my relationship with my father for the next 30 years. After that day I didn’t miss any opportunity to piss him off. I grew my hair, I wore an American flag bandana, I bought red whit and blue sneakers, I spoke of protests and rallies, signed petitions, attended sit ins, and let him know where I was during those anti American moments. I read very profound books, Aldous Huxley, Herman Hesse, Ayn Raynd, Kurt Vonnegut. I read political and hip books by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Jack Kerouk, Tom Robbins. I defiantly took creative writing and went to class high.
A little too high, with an imagination that did not connect with any of my classmates. I was too “out there” for them, they wanted to be serious writers, Steinbecks or Dickens, and resented me an everything I stood for. I was in a class loaded with hitters, or straits, kids who followed every rule, seldom took a chance, and only saw the principals office on official business, never for disciplinary action which was what I went there for on a weekly basis. I was alienated and withdrawn in class, then started cutting. First a day here or there, then a few in a row, until I stopped attending altogether.
From there I took a myriad of path turns, none of which involved writing. I went from pot sink suds buster extraordinaire at a local restaurant, to line cook at Windows On The World, worked my way up to a B level chef in NYC, then ultimately a chef/owner. I left my dreams of writing packed away in an obscure box gathering dust in the attics of my youth. Until now! I have literally turned a page and gone head first into writing, a blog here, a published story there, an hopefully before my flame of creative energy gets to too dim will have a collection of short stories or perhaps that great American novel that has been hiding out for so long. Never give up on a dream, don’t let other people define your limits. Your imagination never rests and loves exercise, so exercise it daily. No matter what you enjoy pursue it before it passes by you. I work every day now on writing something, an I truly believe I have at least one good novel in me to finish. If I do, I know exactly who will be in the dedication, my two teachers.