I'm Walt. And I'm Marie Elena.
This is the collaboration of two kindred spirits; partners in rhyme;
"the best friends we've never met."
All "Across the Lake. Eerily."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


There we were, myself and you
strolling through the petting zoo.
when all at once, things went askew,
and WE were being petted, too!

I took off, fast as I could go
(It kind of creeped me out, you know?)
I did not wish to undergo
this petting switch-a-roo, -- although,

It seemed that YOU were in no hurry;
being pet by something furry
didn’t seem to make YOU worry --
after that, my memory’s blurry.

Marie Elena


I caught a Silly cold today,
as you can clearly see.
What started as a runny nose,
became a runny knee.

Developing a nasty cough
deep down inside my ear,
and wishing that this ache beneath
my breath would disappear.

A fever from a ‘normal’ cold
might rise to one-o-two,
but something ‘bout this Silly cold
is making me turn blue.

My hair is running marathons;
my feet are now brunette;
I’m shedding hints of Hitchcock
in my shadow’s silhouette.

I wonder how much longer
I will have to deal with this --
I can’t convince my husband
he could cure me with a kiss.

Marie Elena


So, I've been thinking in the kitchen;
about the kitchen. And the magnitude
of one room in a whole houseful of rooms,
becomes more and more apparent.
Kitchen was the hearth in which
we warmed ourselves, inside
and out. The kitchen was home.
Kitchen was where we came
when we needed familiarity;
when we needed assurance;
when we needed to be loved.
Think kitchen, and it conjures strong 
sentiment about family. Life
was less confusing when the kitchen
offered her comfort. Mom was the kitchen.
Dad too. And all the brothers and sisters
with which we may have been blessed,
joined us in the kitchen. For me,
even though that kitchen can no longer
be accessed by me, there is a small ember,
a glow that resides amongst the baseboards.
That spark is me. I left it there. No matter
where I may find myself, that kitchen
will still have a piece of me in it.It is only fair. 
That kitchen continues to live in me.
What a glorious inspiration!
It never dies. 


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Cooked cornmeal,
Grandma’s spaghetti sauce,
Grated Romano and Parmesan,
Dumped in a heap on a breadboard,
At the “kids’ table.”
Eight kids in the round.
No plates.
Spoons in hand.
Dig in!

Marie Elena


I remember Uncle Joe, my father’s oldest brother.
A drummer in his own right; locally famous
with a penchant for kicking back the brew and food.
His heart a ticking time bomb; he couldn’t match it’s beat.
At a birthday party in our kitchen
he collapsed with a major coronary, going to drum for the angels.

I remember my Grandfather (my mother was his angel)
with his Polish dialect, telling stories of his brother.
In the old country, his sibling would not leave his kitchen,
wanting to devise a scheme that would make him famous.
But, my Grandfather had his brother beat,
this “New World” offered a better life and better food.

I remember the taste of my Grandmother’s food,
through the recipes she had handed down. Her angel
food cake was delicious, which no one could beat,
and living near her brother
she always made double, he thought her cakes were famous
(at least they were around her kitchen.)

I remember watching my mother in the kitchen.
She learned what her mother had taught, her food
mirrored all she did. Mom had no delusion of being famous,
she had her hands full raising her six angels.
Between her and my Uncle Harry, her brother,
there were twelve of us at the “kid’s table”. You had to beat

the others for the good seats. But, sitting down to eat
in that corner of my mother’s kitchen,
I remember always being sandwiched between my cousin and her brother
and becoming the middleman in the constant food
fight they would wage, though they pretended to be angels.
I knew better. But around our family, their battles were famous.

I remember writing at a young age, wanting to be famous
and be read by millions. But, I formed this strange habit. I liked to eat,
and I didn’t think my skills would have kept me from joining the angels
through starvation. So, I scribbled my song lyrics and poems at our kitchen
table, and kept myself close to mom’s inspirational cooking. But, food
for thought, I also shared the table with seven others.

So, now my siblings kid their famously studious brother
that his bountiful words are food for the soul. But, you couldn’t beat
that kitchen for the story or two that we all tell. We each have our own angle.


Monday, March 29, 2010


A celebration.
A wake of sorts.
On the death of a Father,
a gathering of hearts
to herald the lives of parents
who had epitomized love
in that ancestral home.
A large sitting room;
a large dining room.
But, a cramped kitchen
was chosen to host that fete.
A conjoining of siblings
long removed from that hallowed ground
to rediscover the essence of them
in the presence of their spirit.
Do you hear it? Faint whispers,
contented sighs. Finally.
Brought together again for a cause.
A joyous pause regaled in lore,
lost in raucous laughter
after a long and painful struggle.
An atmosphere she would have loved.
A festive reunion he would have led.
One last communion: a Last Supper
given in tribute to the Mother who
bore and fed them, and a Father
who wore more hats than they knew.
Tried on for size, but never filling
his shoes. They could live with that.
In the presence of their spirit,
in the place that was home.

Walt                                                                                                              Photo by Walt Wojtanik

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Shave and a haircut, two-bits,
but no charge when Dad’s
kitchen “barbershop” opened for business.
A kitchen chair and a bath towel,
a straight razor and the barber shears.
Always remembering, that
your “look” was in the hands
of your disciplinarian.
Four in line, seated from
the youngest to the oldest.
No squirming in the chair.
You had to live with his
mistakes the until next time. 
There was always a next time.



Steeped in Grandma Dunn’s teapot-for-one,
served in Grandma Marchionte’s Flower-of-the-Month teacups.
Steam, infused with the sweet essence of nostalgia,
ascends to my nostrils,
and satisfies my heart.

Marie Elena

Friday, March 26, 2010


A white lake,
adorned with flecks of black and silver;
a black shoreline marked its perimeter.
The beach, with black and white
to contrast the sun bright yellow it assumed.
Highly-polished chrome edging
and matching tubular chrome legs.
Accessorized perfectly with similarly
hued black and yellow vinyl chairs.
The kitchen table of my youth,
stored in our basement for
as long as I live.
It was the first thing I remember
when I was able to form memory.
It became the last piece removed
when the family home was sold.

Walt                                                                                                         Photo by Walter E. Wojtanik


Legs swollen; edema run amuck,
no more luck in getting around
like he was used to doing.
An eighteen month sentence,
commuted to four, and what’s more,
Sonny boy had returned to take charge.
The run of his mother’s kitchen,
he, now tending to the man of her dreams
and nightmares. Sustenance in the creamy
broths and tattered recipes my father had
missed in twenty years of exile.
I can sense my mother’s love
in each page of hand written instruction;
a connection through Epicurean quarters,
her silent support at my shoulder
and her warming smile filling both
of our hearts, deliciously.



A perfect word for a room
decorated in fifties ”kitch”.
Plastic wall tile and faux brick,
painted to suit the room.
Hand tinted mortar lines in contrast,
bearing years of crusted enamel
and jaundiced by cooking grease.
Supervising every meal and respite,
a decoupage tree trunk bearing
a rendering of Jesus at prayer in
Gethsemane. Amen and pass the creamed corn.
Thankfully, the Felix the Cat wall clock,
met an early demise. Long overdue. 



One of my earliest and most vivid childhood memories took place at our home in Boardman, Ohio. I had just turned five, and my family was preparing to move to a nearby town. The home we would soon be moving to was nestled among aunts, uncles, and cousins. I couldn’t wait.

On this particular afternoon, Mom was moving dishes and glasses from the china closet, to paper nests in sturdy boxes. As is probably quite typical of a five-year-old, I wanted to help. It seemed to me that everything my mother did was great fun, or an adventure in which I wanted to take part. I was enjoying the rustle of the newspaper, and watching how her “house dress” flowed as she worked. I recall a sunny day filled with feelings of love, security, and the excitement of what lay ahead.

As Mom packed, she was tuned in to either our radio or television (I don’t recall which), when her show was abruptly interrupted with news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She immediately fell into a chair, as though the impact of the very message itself had thrown her there. It seemed it couldn’t have been any worse had her own brother been shot. I soon came to realize that Mom’s reaction was no different than that of the rest of the nation. Too young to grasp the significance of the Office, I didn’t really understand who President Kennedy was at the time. Because of the reaction of everyone around me, and snippets I remember from the news, it became obvious even to me that this was a remarkable and cherished person whose life had been senselessly cut short. My memories conjure up feelings of sympathy for young “John John,” who was even younger than I at the time of his father’s death. But mostly I remember my mother, who was in such a state of shock that it shook me to my core. The sadness and confusion I saw in her face nearly broke my heart.

This single event opened my eyes to the world around me. It was then I became aware that circumstances outside my home could have such an impact on my own.

Marie Elena


Skinned knees and elbows,
and a face sliding along a graveled
street, bounding up the curb
and rattling a few molars to the core.
Cuts and burns and bloody noses,
all treated here; without insurance cards,
or appointments. Emergency room
always open, with Tender Loving Care
and a bottle of Mercurochrome.
A gentle hand pulling pieces of stone
from the face her “handsome” boy,
wincing with me and holding back her own tears.
Always at no charge and with the healing powers
of a tender kiss on the repaired injury,
in time to get dinner on the table
when her work had finished.
Doctor Mom was always in.



Ground Zero.
Every turbulent disruption
and calming deception
originated here. My founding.
Our founding. Where life began
as far as can be discerned.
Images of a distraught new mother
home from the hospital
without the first born that
never made it past seven hours
of a life denied. Her husband,
consoling as best he could,
while drowning his own sorrow
with a bottle of Iroquios Beer
and Seagrams. Boiler makers
for the steel maker; his diversion.

A year later to be sharing the news
of the birth of their daughter,
and subsequently, five others there after,
seated at the same table. Life and death.
Mourning comes after long nights waiting,
often over cups of stale coffee. Her mother,
young at fifty-four, as my second birthday
had come and gone; not long after.
His father. In a foreboding fall from
an extension ladder. Severe trauma;
death came mercifully. News came home.
A kitchen command center; headquarters.
Birthday candles and butter creme frostings,
three and five and twelve and sweet sixteen,
all celebrated in the womb of a home,
sweet home. The serenity always a calm
before the next familial storm.

Rebellion in teen age years, the fears
of a world at war, and battles on the home front:
alcoholism and depression, aging in an atmosphere
of youthful discord. Peace signs and the passings
of a Great and Passionate God (it was in the papers);
a president, a civil rights leader, and a presidential sibling,
coming as bad new through the white enameled door.
Another fall from grace from an extended ladder,
her Father; my mentor, Polish dialect and all.
Lingering at another door for long enough
to be considered suffering. The devastation
it brought to my psyche; my confidence gone
in passing. Losing myself in solitude and silence.
A voice smoldering in the ashes of self doubt
and a debilitating shyness. Always accepting,
This corner of my adobe. Ground Zero.
Served with every turbulent disruption
and calming deception which originated
here. My founding. Our founding.
Where my life flourished.




One pint homegrown, home-canned tomatoes
from the fruit cellar.
Two cloves garlic, freshly picked from the garden.
Two home-grown Italian peppers,
braided and drying in the attic.
Home-baked pizza crust
Two generous handfuls of freshly grated, aged parmesan cheese

Wash. Rinse. Can’t repeat.

Marie Elena


Oh, there you are.

I knew you would show up eventually. They all do.
You look wonderful.
Just look at your hair … silky and, well … melodious.

As you wanted, we put our names in
For the items we desired.
Do you see? Your tea cups adorn my china cabinet.
They need to be used, don’t you think?
They need to be used.
The double hurricane lamp graces our front window --
lovely and welcoming.

When my name was drawn for your stove,
I gasped.
Keith put in a gas line for me, and drove
across the state to pick it up.
The first time I lit it, your kitchen permeated my home.
And every time after.

I was the lucky one. Blessed, actually.

And the unlucky one.
We couldn’t take it with us when we moved.
Couldn’t we have figured out a way?
Now it is too late.

I knew you would show up eventually. They all do.

Missing you, Grandma.

Marie Elena

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Scraps of paper scribbled with love;
Vase holds rooting flowers;
Jars of chutney cool on a rack;
Bowl of Cherry Sours;
Kitchen Faerie porcelain gift;
Cookbook with no jacket;
Recipes for holiday fare;
New March Madness bracket;
Mother’s pie plate, emptied and cleaned;
Ready for refilling.
Noting all my tabletop goods,
Life seems quite fulfilling.

Marie Elena

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Eventually, I returned.
Vibrancy eludes the moment,
as does vitality. The banality
of all that had transpired
lives in these fleeting seconds.
The door bell chimes and
goes unanswered. The key slides
emptily into the tumbler.
No dog barks; no feet shuffle
to greet me. Only silence.
Only emptiness. Faint memories
are all that resided there. Chairs
tucked neatly under the table
in your pristine kitchen. Your voice
silenced, faintly echoes in my mind.
The plants are left to cling to
the bit of life they have left.
The dish rack is dry and empty.
As are your cupboards.
And the refrigerator.
And our former life.
Lunchtime no longer belongs to us.
It is mine alone. Mine. Alone.
I touch your picture on the wall
and wipe my eyes. I lock the door.
This time, I leave the key. I take you with me.
All in passing.



My Father.
An hour out of my work day.
Every Tuesday, every noontime.
He, the master carpenter.
He, the drummer.
Me, the wide eyed boy again.
In awe of all the demons
he has battled and defeated.
A warrior in the fight for his life.
Our old kitchen; my old man.
“How you doing, Pops?”
“Sonny, I’m dying.”
With three words
I died a bit myself.
Just lunch. Much to digest.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


No cream in my coffee,
No chips on my plate,
Don’t tempt me with donuts -
I won’t take the bait.
A full thirty minutes
Each day on my bike,
And coupled at times
With a walk or a hike.
My portions have shrunk,
But my body's the same.
I’ve not lost a pound -
I need something to blame!
Decided it must be that
I’m at “that age.”
With Easter at hand now,
This war that I wage
Will go by the wayside.
Then what will become
Of me and my hips,
And my thighs and my bum?

Marie Elena

Monday, March 22, 2010


I’m proud of my Polish heritage, and all that it includes,
for as all ethnic celebrations, it all reverts to foods.

For the palette of the Poles, the tastes are quite exotic,
for someone quite obsessed with food, they are almost deemed erotic.

The Christmas time Wigilia, a meatless feast celebration,
puts me in a festive mood and fills me with elation.

The foods apparent are the best, the breads, the fish, the pierogi,
all serve to wet my appetite (I’d even eat them soggy)

The Easter time Swenczonka, for all the epicurious,
involves a different taste for sure, they never make me furious.

Blessed on Easter Saturday, kielbasa, eggs, and hams,
veal, and cross bread; horseradish, and sculpted butter lambs.

But not all Polish delectable’s suit my heart, I find,
there is a bit that just won’t fit, it makes me lose my mind.

For in the day when I was young, my mother made this dish,
that made my stomach wretch and hurl, though my grandfather’s favorite wish.

A soup they called czarnina, a ruddy, bloody brew
fashioned out of duck’s blood, a taste that I would rue.

My granddad and my father, liked the soup just fine,
but the six of us just hated it; this sweet and sour brine.

My mother called it “chocolate soup” since that was how it looked,
but every time she’d serve it the sibling nearly puked.

So for the benefit of the few, the many had to suffer,
and Mom’d resort to force feeding the nasty stuff for supper.

Don’t put in on the menu! Don’t force feed your food “agenda”!
But in her eyes czarnina was a real deal ender.

We tried with civil discourse to make our feeling known,
but Mom and Dad and Grandfather were the ones that wore the crown.

“You don’t know what is good for you, so we’ll make that decision!”
And every time the soup was dished, it prompted our derision.

It never came up for a vote, we were forced to take it well,
the pushing of the “chocolate soup”; this nasty goop from hell.

I’ve hated it for all these years, I never try to eat it,
my parents always won the war, but this issue was defeated.

This one Polish despicable, offends my conservative taste,
it's put a fear within me, it's really just a waste.

I pray one day somebody, could reverse czarnina’s harm,
not everyone needs “chocolate soup”, it doesn’t hold a charm.

I’m no better off for having it forced straight down my throat,
it’s prompted nasty memories, I think it missed the boat.

After eighty-five years, my grandfather passed, Czarnina finally got him,
I blame the horrid mixture for the times I’ve hit rock bottom.

It’s left a nasty taste in my mouth, it just won’t go away,
seems history repeats itself, and will till end of days.


Saturday, March 20, 2010


Precious feet and hands.
That is what Uncle Keith said
The day you were born.

Blessings to you, Kara, on this your wedding day.
Marie Elena

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The Blindfolded Bubblebutt Bunny Blues Band,
made their debut, and are now in demand.
So purchase your tickets before they’re sold out,
and plan to come early to catch Tiny Trout,
who hooked this great gig as his opening act,
and reels in the crowds, as a matter of fact.

Tiny Trouts’ trumpet’s in tune with the times,
and that’s why his number of followers climbs.
He’ll soon not be opening … soon he will be
the main act that people are coming to see.
He’s taking the stage at a quarter of eight,
Don’t miss a split second; make sure you’re not late!

I’ll never forget the first time that I caught
those Bubblebutt Bunnies. Were they ever HOT!
I must say, Bo Diddley could not hold a candle
to Bubblebutt Bunnies … but, oh, what a scandal
that hit the stage after the Bubblebutt show!

You see, their lead singer, Fats Too Domino,
announced that this concert would be his swan song
(apparently something he’d planned all along,
but hadn’t informed fellow band members of).
Irate fellow Bunnies gave Fats Too a shove.
Fats Too shoved back hard, and then panic ensued,
as audience members took part in the feud.

Security broke up the crowd, and we scattered,
Leaving the venue a mess, if not tattered.
It’s been a year now since that fateful event,
and Bubblebutt prices rose fifty percent.
But the chance to see Bubblebutts AND Tiny Trout?
I’m willing to pay, and I’m going all out!

So, who’s in it with me? You coming along?
Who knows who’ll announce their Blues Bunnies swan song?
It may be the last chance to catch this great band
of bunnies “as is,” and in such great demand.
This hare-alded band will be rockin’ the joint.
Come with me! I promise they’ll not disappoint!

Marie Elena


The wind whispered sweet things,
finding the ears of an empty heart.
The inaudible became pronounced,
a directive to the willingness to
begin the journey again, or at least
a new leg of it. He had become
comfortable in his own company again.
He was assured by his thoughts
that the newness of anything
slightly resembling those feelings,
would find a vacancy within.
A smile permeated his granite
edifice, a sign that he was softening.
The gentle wafting of wind driven
words were music once more,
a rendition of that old tune.
He could swoon at any moment.
But he did not. He needed to feel
the honeyed indignation that
love offered. But he wanted to
get to know the man inside his skin;
the man she was able to mold
from that haggard heap of humanity
and into the strong and tender soul
she required him to be for her.
She felt he might like the guy too,
if he only gave himself the chance.
The road to self-discovery sans map.



It feels just like a sick day,
I feel it in my bones,
my hands, they shake and tremble,
it won’t leave me alone.
My throat seems sort of scratchy,
these eyes are red and burning,
my joints are badly aching,
as far as I’m discerning.

I won’t waste my vacation time,
it really isn’t fair,
I’d pray for a touch of fever,
so my boss would know it’s there.
I don’t take a lot of time off,
it’s really not my style.
I’d save myself some trouble,
but I’ve got it all on file.

The other guys around me,
look like they are susceptible,
there’s hacking, sniffing and malaise,
it truly is perceptible.
It appears an epidemic,
Has broken out with sadness.
I wonder if it has to do
with a new bout of March Madness?


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Irish roses bud and bloom
Side-by-side in mother’s womb.
Beautifully, they grew in grace;
Elegant as Irish lace.

Happy Birthday to Mom and Aunt Peg, with love and great respect.

Marie Elena

Monday, March 15, 2010


Say "998" in Buffalo
and all the old-timers knew where to go
for the bargains great and small,
narrow, wide and short and tall.
In the Broadway neighborhood,
back in the day when times were good,
there "Sattler's" stood in all its glory
with these great deals on every story.
Take your car and go and park it,
across the street at the Broadway market

As department stores go, a great one,
unfortunately, a LATE and great one,
where mothers took the kids for clothes
her pots and pans, and panty hose,
some tools for dad, and grandpa's pipe
and something for sister, so she won't gripe.
School supplies, electric trains,
canning jars and cans of paint.
"Sattler's" was the place you'd venture
for the cream to hold your denture.

But, a mighty wrecking ball
had made this wonder take a fall,
and sink into obscurity
for some profitability.
So all we're left with are the dreams,
of rubber boots and butter creams.
For "998" had gone away,
replaced here by the big red "K"
And makes us long for yesterday.

Rest in Peace, old friend!

*** In subsequent years, the "K" store had also seen hard time and has closed.  Now the address wears her vacancy like a soiled badge.



“The Maumee Indoor,” as it’s known,
Set the uptown business tone.
Built in 1946,
Offering the latest flicks.

Beautiful Art Deco style
Streamline Moderne marquee tile
Through the years, showed much decay
To vandalism, it fell prey.

Fortunately, it was rescued,
Renovated; heart renewed, and
Once again, it’s standing proud,
Attracting quite a Maumee crowd.

Marie Elena

Photo by Keith R. Good

Sunday, March 14, 2010


One clock says this,
One clock says that --
My body clock
Has gone ker-splat.
What time is it?
I do not know.
What time is it
In Buffalo?
What time is it?
I cannot say --
Not even sure
Today’s today.

Marie Elena


Spring ahead
the time has come
to reset the times
around your home.

All the clocks
to synchronize,
that's the daylight
savings prize.

Analog or
don't forget
to set them all.

Work your fingers
to the bone,
the time you save
may be your own.



Time has changed
We sprang ahead
I’d rather be in bed instead.

My outlook, though
Will change tonight.
I’ll gladly welcome later light!

Marie Elena

Friday, March 12, 2010


Angel, upon the wings of love
you flew into my heart at will.
A blessing hidden from my view,
Fallen angel, silent and still.

Your countenance was cherubic,
Your voice was a heavenly trill,
Your hair, the color of sunset,
Fallen angel, silent and still.

The touch of your hands could heal me,
your love was the greatest of thrills,
I long for your whisper of love,
Fallen angel, silent and still.

Holding you gave me the power,
And having you gave me my fill,
You saved me from a life alone.
Fallen angel, silent and still.

Through you my life is more joyful,
Poetic words flow from my quill,
Inspire me for all my life,
Fallen angel, silent and still.

One day our hearts will be rejoined,
But till then I’ll have time to kill,
I was blessed the day I found you,
Fallen angel, silent and still.



Creator, Father, Lord of all,
Your Son submitted to Your call,
Abandoning His throne above,
How can I best express my love?

Assuming human blood and skin,
Surrendering the strength within,
Dismissing all control thereof.
How can I best express my love?

My Savior hung upon a tree,
He bore my punishment for me.
An act I am unworthy of,
How can I best express my love?

He conquered death, that I might live -
A gift that only He could give.
God’s Son again enthroned above,
How can I best express my love?

Marie Elena

Photo by Keith R. Good


Float on lake of life
keeping head above water
be a good buoy


Thursday, March 11, 2010


all our attention
locks into survival mode
when heroes struggle

Marie  Elena


There he lays, unaware,
eyes unseeing, unkempt hair,

sunken cheeks, gaunt and lean
the thinnest that he's ever been.

Differences? We've had a few,
probably more before he's through,

but to see him helpless, in this state
is the part I truly hate,

A man so virile, strong and tall,
reduced to this due to a fall..

Brain damaged, bruised and bleeding,
rest and prayers are what he's needing.

The surgery was deemed a success,
but it will not lift him from this mess.

His eyes are failing, legs are weak,
stomach gone; his fire, meek.

But, on this one fact the family strives,
their husband/father's still alive.



I won’t write a novel, though that’s right for some.
I won’t write a story that’s gloomy or glum.
I won’t write a textbook, nor boring outline.
I won’t write my memoir -- on that I’ll decline.

Just give me some children, or those young at heart,
Those fond of the childish rhymes I impart.
I’ll sit at my desk and I’ll write the day through,
I’ll write silly thoughts, and I’ll watch them accrue.

So you write your novels, if that’s what you do,
Or scholarly texts, or cerebral world view,
While I write my light-hearted, fun-to-write rhyme,
Then do it again for the ten millionth time.

Marie Elena

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Crocus and snowdrops
Peek from under white blanket
I’m “rooting” for you!

Marie Elena


And the ransom note read thusly:

"We want a big bag of mini-marshmallows.
And if the plow comes anywhere near
our hideout, the snowman gets it!"



Aunt Peg picked me up early from school, along with my cousins.
            A blizzard, promising to hold us hostage there otherwise.
                          My street, rendered impassable, held me hostage still –
                                      with my cousin and best friend, Susie.
                                                           Snowmen, sleds, hot cocoa, and warm fires
                                                                                                reigned for several days,
                                                                                                                      as the snow fell,
                                                                                                                                and my heart soared.
Marie Elena

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

ME AND POETRY (A Sestinacci)

A man
mired in poetry,
given to expressions of words;
a sharing of emotion and fits of rhyme.

and words.
A guy Walt,
a muse full of poetry
and too much time for just one man.

is poetry!
It moves me.
It takes this guy Walt,
and fills his expressive soul with melodic words.

like Walt
can make rhyme
sing, and totally move me
to slather my heart with the sweetest poetry.

within me.
Women and men
come to read my rhyme
and leave comments about the madness of Walt.

in rhyme;
painted with words;
offered to the gentle women;
and thrown down as a gauntlet by me.

I am Walt, this is me,
a verbose man of poetry.
Giving these words of rhyme my time.



Don’t say “You Don’t Say,”
When you know I just said.
And how did such silliness
Get so widespread?

Don’t ask me “Ya know?”
When you know that I know.
Nonsensical filler
Has just got to go.

Don’t spill verbal sewage
To just get a rise.
Don’t babble so no one
Can slip in edgewise.

Don’t grumble or mumble
Or fumble your speech.
Don’t speak with your mouth full.
Don’t constantly preach.

These rules aren’t intended
To be a deathblow
To lively and spirited discourse.
Ya know?

Marie Elena


Warmth in nostalgia
Spill as one from heart to page
Together unfeigned

Marie Elena

Monday, March 8, 2010


You lived down the street,
the brown house with the privet hedge.
The grass, manicured and perfect,
marigolds planted along the drive.
I used to cut through your yard.

Your father would yell for me
to stay off of the grass.
But I would chance a pass
to get to the next street.
In the upstairs window, a face

always appeared when your father
released his gentle tirade. You.
Dark eyes and a generous smile.
Dark flowing tresses and
happy sun dresses were your appeal.

And every time you would steal
a glance out your window, our eyes met.
Your smile drew mine out of the
shadowy thicket of inexperience,
and I welcomed your "intrusion"

into the realm of my consciousness.
A day came when I entered your yard,
clean jeans and hair combed,
sweaty palms rubbing against
the coarse denim of my youth.

"Excuse me, Sir" I called.
"Would it be alright if I
went through your yard?"
And your father looked up
from tending his garden, hoe in hand.

In that moment, I knew from where
your smile had come. Waving a gloved hand,
he relented. "Go right ahead"
I saw him glance upward and
again his smile beamed. I turned to look.

You. Dark eyes and a generous smile.
Dark flowing hair and a flair
for always appearing when I would
pass through. I searched your father's eyes
for permission of a sort, and he simply nodded.

When I looked back to your window,
you were gone. You had come to stand
on the back porch of your nervousness.
"Good Morning" you demurely cooed.
"Hello" my voice cracked, as I turned

in my sudden shyness. "Hey!" you recovered,
"Can I walk with you?" Again to your father;
a broad smile and a wave of a gloved hand.
"Go right ahead" his smile beamed.
Many times I crossed through under the guise of

getting to the next street, but I knew your
smile would always be waiting, Cheshire Cat
at the ready; touched by your grace.
We've met many times in our imaginations.
I've known your smile in the beauty of your words.

Friends in the sharing of distance and
our known anonymity. And the wave of a gloved hand.


Sunday, March 7, 2010


I remember you.
The one with the sunny smile.
The funny laugh.
The zany sense of humor.

I remember you.
Playing at the park.
Skating on the pond.
Swinging on the swings.

I remember you.
Laughing at your jokes.
Drawing on the sidewalk.
Sharing picnic lunches.

I remember you.
Walking in the rain.
Skipping in the sun
The one I never met.

Marie Elena


Beneath Erie’s moon
Love’s eternal afterglow
Reveals halted dreams

Marie Elena

Saturday, March 6, 2010


We arrive at the lake and you emerge to stand upon the wave swept shore,
the loving beauty of my heart and of my dreams.
And you stride in the quiet confidence
borne of your grace and of your style,
lake breezes waft a playful hand through your hair,
a gentle caress for your tresses so fair.
Halting, you study the vastness of the lake.
and gazing in wonder and awe you stand,
soon, crouching to pluck
a solitary seashell that had attracted your eye,
your heart’s true vision in the glimpse of an infinity.
For of all of the crustaceous wonder long buried
amid this endless sea of sand,
you chose this singular grain for its’ unspectacular beauty,
and its’ endearing charm, holding it to your heart.
For in it’s simplicity, you saw the handiwork of God.

Now, years long removed, I often return to that shore, searching
for the faint reminders of you, the loving beauty of my heart and my soul.
The waves, in their persistent cycle, have swept your footprints away
and the eternal sands have been eroded, losing their once golden shimmer.
The wind blows colder and the song of the seas birds
is now the sound of an endless dirge of regret.
I cease my meandering and send
a heartened plea across the vastness of the lake.
For although covered with years of drifted sand
I have rediscovered the beauty that still surfaces,
having long ago been hidden within my heart by you,
that solitary shell.
And in that exact moment, I am enlightened, knowing
you had chosen me for the beauty within me; my tender nature,
and you held me to your heart.
For in my complex simplicity, you had touched the heart
of the handiwork of God.

Walt                                                                                              Photos by Walt Wojtanik


My voice changed.
That fact defined the year which brought me
to the precipice of adulthood.
Unsure of foot and teetering
on the weak knees of youthful thought.

All of thirteen, a bit green
and ignorant to a changing world.
I found myself transforming into
someone I barely knew, realizing
I would find myself soon enough

as long as I tuned in, turned on
and dropped out of the norms of a
distilled upbringing, wringing my hand
at authority and standing up to the "man",
still yielding to my mother to take out the trash.

Short on cash and stature, and the nature
of the beast was the least of my concerns.
The females in my realm of thought
made funny things happen to me.
My hands shook, my stomach churned,

and I learned that they were the cause
of my voice fracturing every time they came near.
I had a fear of the war lasting forever,
and having to learn to speak Vietnamese
or Canadian, knowing I'd look bad in fatigues.

Why is it we could put men on the moon,
but couldn't keep guys like John
and Martin and Bobby safe from hatred.
Isn't anything sacred anymore? Did we even know the score?
But one thing always delivered the goods. Music.

Music did it for me. I know that now.
We were lighting fires for Morrison,
while Hendrix did fine all by himself.
Mick was gathering no moss, and the cost
for freedom was very high, but worth every penny.

And if anyone would tell me that the Beatles
would argue and break up over an avant-garde Ono,
I would tell them the were crazy. I stopped being lazy
in '69, ever since I found this thing called "muse",
and how expressing it, gave me and those around me

joy and peace, a good release in a lyrical sense
under the false pretense of ever really being
in love, above all else, music and words lived in me
but I was just too ignorant to get that clue.
Besides, my voice changed.



Romans 12:2a. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

My sinner’s heart lacks purity,
and spiritual maturity,
yet You demand renewal of my mind?

I’m at a loss for power,
As I come to thee this hour,
To request a substitution be assigned.

“My child, seek no longer.
In My eyes, you will be stronger,
As My Son renews your spirit and your soul.”

My Christ was resurrected,
Through His power, I’m perfected,
He’s transformed my heart and mind, and made me whole.

Marie Elena

Friday, March 5, 2010


Yes Marie, quite an accomplishment we've earned. I, on the other hand, had no doubts that you'd be included in the mix.. Are you ready for the NEXT April PAD Challenge? It will be upon us in mere weeks.

Congratulations of your recent publishing news. A true feather in your cap for sure! It allows me to ride YOUR coat tails for a bit. Not too shabby!

And as long as we're celebrating, I have been selected as Guest Poet #3 over at "OUR LOST JUNGLE".
The sample of pieces submitted gave a good representation of my strengths: the ridiculously sublime to the heart-wrenching romantic. Hey, it may not be much, but I'll wear it proudly!

Okay, back to work!



Walt and I have something else in common now. The results of the Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer April Poem-a-Day Challenge include the two of us in the top 150 poems of the challenge. Since there were over 25,000 poems entered, this is quite a lift! A surprise lift, for me. I completely anticipated that Walt would be included, but never even allowed myself to dream that one of my poems would make the cut. Incredible.

My prolific partner over there, however, had TWO poems in the top 150! TWO!!


Thursday, March 4, 2010


How much I hate the snow!
After the dark and dreary autumn,
in the narrow, hole-pocked streets,
near the bowling alley,
how I must despise the snow.

How it gathers on my rooftop,
and buckles up my black top,
how it slushes and piles up
from my throat, I'll just throw up.

Outside my window pane
it flakes and flakes;
wildly coying,
quite annoying,
where's the ice dam 'neath my shingles
for this snow, gall-dang snow!

This frustrated man looks out his door
and bids the snow gods, "NO MORE!"
I condemn the bitter frost,
"melt this crap at any cost",
my raucous anger turns to vile
I'll surely drench the pile with bile,
so steer clear of the amber snow!

In my 'hood the kids all come
with sleds in tow, and some
make commotion on the unplowed street,
and throw their snow-balled sleet,
'til someone loses an eye
(or at least runs home a-crying)
upon this groundswell of snow.

In this city, on every lane,
everywhere it is the same,
six more inches and rising
and no one is surprised,
as forecasters say the thing,
"you suckers best forget the spring!"

***Based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Rain in Summer"



A picture paints a thousand words,
of this it's been agreed.
He captures vision's, the best he's seen,
with his photography.

From aperture to f-stop,
and all stops in between,
He'll focus on his subjects
to immortalize each scene.

He used to load with rolls of film
and wait for what developed,
but digital has eased the task
and all that that envelops.

With pocket cameras, SLR's
camera phones now the rage,
a postage stamp sized chip for "film"
can fill a hundred pages.

So he'll compose the shots he wants
and file them away,
He'll point-and-click, to his memory stick,
to view some other day.



Oh no you don't,
you Groucho fake!
‘cause this is mine,
make no mistake!
No “ifs” or “buts,”
you got that right.
Now, go away --
or plan to fight!

Marie Elena
Photo by Keith Good


Furry little forager,
I think it's really neato,
that you would don your "Groucho" nose
and go deep incognito,
looking for some sustenance
to store within your cheek,
trying hard to figure out
how to get it past that beak.
The neighbor dogs just stop and stare,
at your peculiar gaff,
They sense there's something funny there
but none the less, they laugh.
It's not that you're so humorous,
there are no "ifs" or "buts",
so don't ask them for the secret word
because they'd have to say it's "nuts".

Walt                                                                                                                      Photo by Walt Wojtanik


Cute little porch-percher, perched on his spot,
Thinks it is springtime, although it is not.
Perhaps he knows more than my calendar knows.
Or will he be chirping his wintertime woes?
Springtime in Northwest Ohio is fickle,
Teasing blue skies, while the icicles trickle.
Cute little porch-percher, getting his fill,
Hang in there, little one – ward off that chill!

Marie Elena
Photo by Keith Good

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


A coronation not withstanding
she plies her writing wile,
pieces full of substance,
all panache and style.
She carries herself with an air
of aristocratic aplomb,
she, the Matriarch of Mirth;
she surely is "da bomb".
She's every bit of Kid Lit,
poetic and precise,
a partner worthy of this blog,
and to top it off, she's nice.
She thinks my poems take the cake,
she calls them "cat's meow",
but she's every bit the poet,
she holds her own, and how!
The "Toast of all Toledo",
a credit to Maumee,
a mother in her own write,
that's certainly Marie!



Writer of poetry, Walt is “the man,”
constructing word models as only he can.
In my opinion, he pens like no other.
If writers were royal, he’d be the *Queen Mother!

Marie Elena

*Don't throw stuff across the lake at me for this, k?


Eleven cousins, my sister, and me
a baker’s dozen, and potpourri
of personality and height –
a childhood of sheer delight.
We’d bundle up and steal away
to ice skate on a winter’s day;
or grab a quarter, towel, and suit
in summertime, in hot pursuit
of Waddell’s public swimming pool –
super crowded; super cool.
Our bike parades: big kids and small,
well-decorated, one and all.
Endless kickball or Red Rover;
who can find a four-leaf-clover;
swinging on the big front porch;
that little Chris was such a “scorch.” =)
These times I look most fondly on
are in the past and long-since gone.
But as I search them out, I find
they’re fondly tucked inside my mind.

Marie Elena

Monday, March 1, 2010


March 1st, and it seems I just got Christmas put away. Oops … that line was already taken. But how true it is!

I can’t speak for Buffalo, but March definitely came in like a lamb here in Maumee. 40’s and sunny, with chipmunks tearing around the yard and birds singing their little hearts out. It’s sunny in my heart as well, as I have had more fun blogging with Walt than I thought possible. I can’t believe we’re closing in on a month now. Partner, I’m glad you talked me into this. It’s an honor being on the same page with you, in more ways than one.

Turns out March 1st was also a big day for me. My inbox was a friend today, offering exciting news!

1. Two of my poems will appear in the June 2010 issue of Berry Blue Haiku.

2. A short story of mine entitled “Jeep and the Real Me” will appear in the August 2010 issue of Pockets magazine for children.

I’m just so excited, I can’t stand it! So, Mr. Lion, please Bear with me while I roar!

Marie Elena


I grew up near where the metal monsters rode.
Raised on the rumble and roar,
impressed by the power and speed.
Six abreast the rails curved around the bend,
under the trellis, Northward toward Buffalo,
to the South along the lake shore toward  
Erie and Cleveland. They were the major players:
New York Central, Pennsylvania, Nickel Plate,
Erie, Burlington, B&O. Saturday afternoons
spent sitting among the corn in my
grandfather's garden, trying to guess
which rail carried the next train through.
A blast of diesel horn, and a half wave/salute
from the engineer,  and the train continued
to high ball it to its next destination.
Always my dream to ride the big
NYC 20th Century out of town.
Born too late, the dream will
always remain just that.



March 1st, and it seems that I just got Christmas put away. Either way, the year is off to a raucous start. A very productive, raucous start. That is a good thing. And speaking of Good "things" Marie Elena has found her blogging legs throughout February. Great job Partner. But we are not done by a long shot. "Across the Lake, Eerily" has headed in the direction we've envisioned when first discussed. Like minds for a common cause, that is Marie Elena and me (or ME and me, as we tease). I look forward to the continuance of poetry across the depths of Erie. We're just scratching the surface. The weather may be questionable on either end of the lake, but our March will most certainly come in as both a lamb (Marie) and a lion (Walt). We've got both ends covered.