Monday, December 31, 2007


I do not profess to being a pro, but I love capturing the images that touch me and I believe I have a decent eye. All of my photos that I will be posting will be in January 2003 just so that they are centrally located.

I will continue to update over time.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Poem: Asleep


Tick Tick Tick Tick
Count from Ground Zero
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Make believe hero
Tick Tick Tick Tick
God’s will is calling
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Baghdad has fallen
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Iraq and Iran
Tick Tick Tick Tick
A masquerade plan
Tick Tick Tick Tick
John Wayne as leader
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Weak, bottom-feeder
Tick Tick Tick Tick
A war of “no cost”
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Yet thousands are lost
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Britney and Simpson
Tick Tick Tick Tick
No one is listening
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Where is the fury
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Hide the true story
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Fear guides the masses
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Righteousness passes
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Public is lazy
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Torture grows hazy
Tick Tick Tick Tick
Enough is enough
Tick Tick Tick Tick
It comes down to us

(Alarm Bell)

Copyright SGW 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wisdom on a Starbucks Cup

"Scientists tell us we only use 5% of our brains. But if they only used 5% of their brains to reach that conclusion, then why should we believe them?"

Joseph Palm

Monday, December 24, 2007

George Wirth: "Words and Music"

George Wirth: If you have seen him perform or listened to his CD, "The Lights of Brigantine," you probably considered closing your eyes just now and visualizing; seeing all the images George puts out on his musical canvass with each verse he plays.

The first time I saw George Wirth perform live, he inspired me to write poetry about his gift as a "Storyteller." Wirth sings: "Some let it all out. I keep it all down on the inside, way in the dark, where it belongs." When away from his guitar and harmonica, Wirth comes across as a quiet, unassuming observer rather than a focal point. I think he is watching, learning, taking notes, and beginning to piece together new tales to tell.

George Wirth is heavily influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan and the folk version of Bruce Springsteen, among others, , with a touch of a quieter Joe Cocker in his voice. His lyrics, though, are less abstract then Dylan's can be and more John Steinbeck in form. Wirth writes about hardships and life's challenges, but he does so with a vast array of pictures that represent sung photo albums of a life. Sometimes life is trying, but it goes on. Wirth's songs of then and now are moments captured in intricate detail. His "half smoked cigarettes," old faded pictures of youth buried away in a shoe box, sighs of resignation, roads "that turn from asphalt to sand," and the mill with "its never ending spin" notice the flashed by instances of life, and somehow they soften even the roughest of edges.

Wirth can show us hope, promise and love, too. In "Eisenhower Summer, 1952," he takes us back to a time of optimism that that era offered. The love of his life, Brenda, is shared with us in unpretentious songs such as "Old Dancing Fool" and the contented in anything if it is with you "Better Man." He also gives us something to wish for in his newer song, "Power Lines," in its metaphoric connectivity of the search for what, or who, makes us happy.

In his masterpiece, "Weight of Sin," Wirth sings of love, but also of frailty and why we fall short of the ideal in life. You will walk on water, he says, like a god, when you are sinless and able to leave behind the trials and scars of each day. We carry our burdens, they weigh us down, but there is something bigger than us to ease the weight. It is elusive. Is it God ... or love? Or both joined in some form?

George Wirth is a sanctuary from the white noise of the day, even as he portrays many days to us. The stage is a screen, and upon it are shown many reels of film George wishes us to take in. Sit down, close your eyes, listen ... words and music never revealed more.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Poem: Labor Pains

Labor Pains

Gestation times vary within certain ordeals
For the re-birth of life from which darkness conceals
A second chance granted in the depths of despair
At the vanquishing moments we appeal for repair
Time clips our wings by a mystery’s endeavor
We think we have answers; we think ourselves clever
Yet the path has its rhythms inconsistently flowing
Swept away by a faith built of trust ever-growing
As the child breathes in life from impossible blessing
Beholden to wonder mixed with fears of regressing
When the too many heartaches scar the mind to forget
And an emptiness breeds on a sea of regret
Chance to encounter what we’ve lost hope of finding
Where the sun meets our stare it is bound to be blinding
Yielding to forces quite beyond contemplation
Understanding will grow as to purpose and station
Story moves forward watching swiftly turned pages
As the dream turns a key to unlock all the cages
No point and no reason for a frustrated yelling
Embarking with questions but there’s time for the telling

Copyright SGW 2007

Antwone Fisher

I am unsure why I did not write something about Antwone Fisher the first time I saw the movie based on his life, directed by Denzel Washington. Maybe it is because I am not black, did not come from a broken home, and had a mother and father who I knew and shared a deep love with. Perhaps it is because I could not appreciate Antwone's hardships.

Having just finished watching the movie a second time, though, I feel gripped by Fisher's story and have a need to write about it just a little. Derek Luke does a remarkable job of portraying Antwone Fisher and I believe Washington's direction to be superb. The story tells itself in the watching, and I urge people to rent the DVD, but three scenes touched me deeply.

The first is obvious, as it is when Fisher realizes that his mother is not capable of being his family, yet he has discovered a warm and full bond there for his taking within the breast of his dead father's kin. Anyone who does not cry tears of joy when his grandmother takes him by the hand is not human.

More powerful are two other scenes. I alluded to his mother in the last paragraph, and the reality of her being unable to let Antwone past her guilt and regret is incredibly true and painful. Still, Antwone tells her what he has become; maybe not for her, but to fill in the gaps of his life by allowing himself to see what a strong and successful man he now is. He needs to know this and the emptiness his mother has left him with will not be enough to bring him down.

Joy Bryant, as his girlfriend, helps provide for the most gripping and unique scene of the movie; Antwone's first sexual experience that is not swollen with the bruises of abuse. It is rare for Hollywood to allow for the expression of a male's sexually abused past, and this movie wears the scene with tenderness and fragility. Luke gives us an exposed man who must trust Bryant's love and sweetness.

This movie is a beautiful portrayal of a difficult life that would not give up, but needs the help of a caring doctor (whose relationship with Antwone Fisher I do not feel I can do justice to), a loving girlfriend and a family that feels blessed to set wrongs they did not commit but were cheated by, too, set to right as best as they can.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Not sure of the actual date, but I claim Festivus as my holiday of the season, so Happy Festivus.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Poem: Anxiety Attack

Anxiety Attack

Hot and cold
At once, a pair
Strickened panic
Robust despair.

Anxious moments
Question filled
Nervous banter
Emotions spilled.

Desperate musings
Hopeless thought
Answers fleeting
Escape is sought.

Hiding lonely
Narrowed walls
Darkened bedroom
Spirit falls.

Heartbeat racing
Crying fear
Hunger fleeting
Confusion near.

Empty sorrow
Misplaced contempt
Afraid of living
Or some small attempt.

Frightened rigid
Gripped by gloom
Mind aflutter
Impending doom.

Moves uncertain
Sit or stand
Anxiety attacks
Crash to land.

Copyright SGW 1999

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Poetic Leanings

Yes, I am back. I used to post at a different location, but I have lost that site. Come back soon for poems and the like.

Update: I have posted less than half the poems and most of the reviews at this point. Give me a few more days if you see something missing that you remember from the old site. Depending on laziness and time, I might add a photography component, as I have many great shots from recent years. That will come later.

Oh, and Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, MTV, and Oprah Winfrey. Now that you googled and found my site, get some culture with a brain while you are here!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I have railed against man's application of religion on many occasions on Poetic Leanings. I think I am correct in doing so, but it is important to remember that it is not really religion, or more accurately, an honest belief in God that I am taking shots at. The problem in the United States, and many other places around the world, is that too often religion has nothing to do with God, and even more often the most devoutly "religious" are not acting from a place of love, tolerance, understanding, compassion, joy, inclusiveness, and peace.

My belief system centers around the idea that, for me, God and religion are mutually exclusive. I see religious doctrine as being man-made; where God has been shaped and created into a human form, complete with human frailties. My love of God comes about through a direct connection with Him/Her via good works, appreciation of all living creatures and things, and the desire to attempt to do right by the world.

However, that is not to say that I am correct, or, more accurately, that my beliefs are right for others. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism or any other religious movement has merit if, and only if, the observation of that religion is centered on love, tolerance, understanding, compassion, joy, inclusiveness, and peace.

Every religion has within it a fork in its road of practice that can lead it down a path of either inherent goodness or badness. The person who exhibits the qualities mentioned above through their religious practice is a good person and receives my complete respect and appreciation. If a particular religion is a path to positive energy flow then my personal beliefs are irrelevant. Observe, believe and be a good person. We will be fine with each other.

If a person practices a religion from a perspective of intolerance, such as for gays or some other religion, they are twisted in their beliefs and are no longer observing anything more than a worthless set of words and customs. The same is true if religion is used for anger or fear, dominance over others, or is forced upon those with a different set of beliefs.

This is where al Qaeda's religious beliefs lie. It is also where the extreme elements of Christianity in America reside. The need to INFLICT one's beliefs on another through any controlling mechanism, whether via legislation or violence, is a betrayal of God and is devoid of any positively influenced beliefs. Condemning a person for how they were born is a violation of God's loving principles. Hating another person or people for not observing in the same fashion is a denial of God.

I'd be happiest if we could show our love to God in our own ways; quietly or without infringing on those who do not agree with our approach. I would respect another man or woman's love of God, if he or she loves all other people as best as possible because of this love of a higher being.

I have seen the best of religion and love of God in many faces and places; from the meditative dance of the spirit to a church saying goodbye to a beloved pastor to a group such as Habitat for Humanity to rituals such as a Bar Mitzvah or supportive sitting of Shiva to the stopping of a day's chores to kneel and pray. I have also seen the worst of religion; in the destruction of two buildings in New York, one partially in D.C. and a plane in Pennsylvania. Or in the doctrines of a wealthy church in Rome built upon narrow-minded preachings and in the taught hatred of Madrassas in Saudi Arabia. Lastly, I have witnessed it right here in my own countrymen and women who use it to hate, fear, discriminate, isolate, denigrate, and even kill.

When did loving God become hating Him/Her so much through these negative manifestations of religion? I'd like to see more of the good, and it sometimes seems so hard to find in a sea of misguidedness. But it is there; I know it is.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I was in a meditation group today, and afterwards there was a conversational circle of sorts. One person said something that I found to be right on and in complete alignment with my beliefs.

To paraphrase her, "Our goal here is not to be tolerant. We strive to go beyond that."

I concur.

While far too many people, mostly of the extreme right in this country and of an extremist bent throughout the world, are miles and miles from tolerance, simply being tolerant should never be an endpoint. The word, and the act itself, merely implies a willingness to put up with someone or something. There is nothing toward speaking of acceptance, understanding or oneness in being tolerant.

When the gay/lesbian or person of color or spiritually different soul or slightly "unusual" spirit or the individual who is not exactly like you or most of the people of your flock becomes someone who you do not simply tolerate, but love, honor, embrace, and connect to, then you are doing something special.

Talk to me then.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Eight ... er ...Ten Random Facts About Me

Catherine, that fiend (said with affection) over at Poverty Barn, has tagged me (and now I've been tagged by Kat at Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes), so I will share eight random facts about me. As I told Catherine in her comments section, I won't tag anyone else as I have been a pest lately, E Mailing poems and other things to too many people. I don't know if I will get hit by blogosphere lightening or something now, but here are my eight:

1. I love coffee ice cream, preferably Days in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.
2. I love to read, but I am a slower reader who tends to get distracted and reads in short bursts several times a day.
3. I love acoustic singer-songwriters who play in coffeehouses. They bring me peace and inspire my poetry.
4. My cat, Boo, has me completely wrapped around his fing ... er paws.
5. I never set my alarm or microwave for a multiple of five.
6. My favorite spot is the lower walking path of Raymondskill Falls in northeast PA. It is hard to reach this path and few know it is there. I find it to be a sanctuary and will visit it next week.
7. I have written over 570 poems to date. (As of January 2008)
8. I consistently notice when it is 11:11, especially in the morning.
9. I do not like cheese or tomatoes, but love thin crust pizza.
10. I am afraid of big dogs. Ever since my best friend's German Shepherd almost tore me apart, this has been true.

There you go.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

My father died July 8, 1992. I was twenty-eight at the time. He often comes back to me in dreams, times when my mind wanders and in reflections in the mirror; where I realize how much of his son that I am.

My father died far too young. He had worked too hard at a job that he enjoyed, but that had left him overwhelmed by too much stress and a "partner" who had bled the company dry. I remember racing to his office that day in 1992 when a call came into my parent's house that he had suffered a "heart attack," hoping he was alive still and being angry at him for not quitting that job and joining forces with me to maybe open up a small shop selling baseball cards. I figured we could marvel over stats of players we loved while Springsteen music came from some radio behind the counter. He, of course, would be singing off-key, muffing the words.

None of that was to be, because dad died that day, probably the instant he fell from his chair. But did he really leave? Sure, I miss the physical contact and the daily phone calls. We always spoke about politics, sports ... whatever ... and I treasured that, even when I did not. We were not embarrassed to kiss each other hello and goodbye in public. He taught me the secret family hand-hold; three squeezes signifying "I LOVE YOU." And he did; like no other dad possibly could.

The night before he died, I stayed at my parent's house and as he rested on the couch, I lay beside him with my head on his chest. That was the bond we shared.

We coached a baseball and basketball team together, had season's tickets to Rutgers' games and spent more hours having catches (like the scene in "Field of Dreams") then most people spend even talking to one another. We always spoke while playing catch; as he broke off curve balls that dropped to the floor and knucklers that literally stopped in mid air.

The nickname my dad gave me as a child was "Bookee." It was something I hid from friends as a kid so I would not be teased. As an adult, I paid tribute to it, naming my cats Boo and Kee. What I wouldn't give to have him call me that stupid nickname again.

I admire many great men and women of history, but none top my father. He spent countless hours teaching children life's lessons. When a kid could not afford to play Little League, he secretly funded them. He gave away sets of baseball cards to neighborhood children. Often, he joined my friends and me in the street to take a turn at bat. No one could hit like my father (he was offered major leagues contracts in his youth).

He cared about politics and was a progressive on most issues. He worked hard behind the scenes to elect people he believed in and spent countless hours going door to door for causes that merited his devotion.

Devotion. That was my father. He was devoted; flat out devoted. He was devoted to his family, to those in need, to friends, to children, to causes big and small, and to any person who wished to talk to him for hours on end. He would disappear on a "quick trip" around the corner or at the local diner, inevitably engaged in a dialogue with someone.

I miss him. But do I? Really, he remains here full and strong, for he is in me. I am my own man, but I am also much my father's son. Sure, there are physical similarities, but my dedication to making the world better, my love of the written word, my work with children, my being a big mush - they are all products of my father. For that, he lives on and always will. I won't let those who knew him forget. Nor will I allow those who did not meet him to not know him in some form.

Happy Father's Day, dad. Your were among the greatest to walk this earth.

Poems on my blog about my father are:

Games Of Toss
My Father's Son
Role Model
To Be Continued

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Slavery and Homosexuality?

I am currently reading a biography of Jefferson Davis. What strikes me each time I read the southern perspective of slavery from the 1770's leading up to the Civil War, is how the people who supported slavery come off sounding today. Their arguments for state's rights, inferiority questions, fear of financial loss, etc...., all ring hollow, of course. Ultimately, what I come away with is how unenlightened, small-minded, foolish, and often hateful people could be during those times.

Then I watch the news, read a magazine or surf the internet, and I find arguments against homosexuality, on issues ranging from "curing an illness," to marriage, to even associating with "those icky fags." My thoughts drift off again, and I wonder, will it take our country as long this time to reduce the lack of enlightment, small-mindedness, foolish thought, and hate?

Footnote: That includes Democrats who state they are for civil unions because they are too frightened to support gay marriage.

Poem: Native

On my recent trip to the Grand Canyon, we ventured into the Navajo Nation. What I saw was desolation and destitution. A people that had once flourished throughout North America in harmony with the land are now greatly reduced to small boxes of dead earth. I have done my share of reading on the plight of the American Indian and understand it is necessary to avoid the caricatures of the Indians as wholesome and pure, and the white man as fully decadent and evil. However, by and large there is an element of truth to these representations in looking at how Native Americans lived on these lands before Europeans invaded and recklessly overwhelmed the local inhabitants and a great deal of nature, too, in their pursuit of Manifest Destiny.

The ring purchase is a reference to the small stand I stopped at to buy a piece of jewelry from an old man inside the Navajo Nation. It is meant as a statement, but I will leave that to you to come to conclusion on.


Lands were fertile far and wide
Took their fill as life provides
Green grass meadows to skies of cloud
One with country their God endowed
Bound to earth as mother’s womb
Only take what they’d consume

Plague came forth in wrathful flight
Reckless force of scorching white
Paths were trodden by mindless ruin
Death came quick from whence they’d swoon
Mark’s been left with disregard
Land once blessed now cold and hard

Man sits old in wrinkled skin
Nation’s lost but not within
Pride remains as time-spilled lore
Imagines all might thought restore

Pain will yield when hearts still sing
Man lives on; I buy a ring

Copyright SGW 2007

Sunday, June 3, 2007

"Fallen Founder - The Life of Aaron Burr"

While hardly a scholar of the Revolutionary Era, I am well read in that time-frame. My small library includes biographies of Washington, Adams, Franklin, Madison, Monroe, Marshall, and several of Jefferson. Jefferson, despite his flaws, remains one of my chief historical heroes, and I have been to Monticello twice as a result.

In most portraits of the Revolutionary Era, Aaron Burr comes off as a villain. He is the conniver in the Election of 1800, the murderer of Alexander Hamilton and the treasonous adventurer of the western lands. None of these portrayals are accurate, and Nancy Isenberg does a marvelous job of correcting the record in her "Fallen Founder - The Life of Aaron Burr."

Burr had his faults; he was sexually active, he was a politician in all its definitions, he did duel with Hamilton, and he did connive to take actions in the west. However, he was also a brilliant legal and political mind, who was ahead of his time on women's, voting and middle class rights. He often was a voice of moderation. In 1800, Isenberg shows a man who did not attempt to steal the presidency, but instead remained true to Jefferson throughout the ordeal.

While Burr was sexually active, he was no more so than many others of his time. While he did kill Hamilton in a duel the record shows Hamilton unwilling to apologize for defaming Burr's character and Burr giving him ample opportunity to retract the remarks.

Much written about Burr in that time was slanderous; the product of fear by his rivals for control over the New York power base and, nationally, control between Virginia and New York.

Even his western adventures are inaccurately portrayed. He never seemed to have any intentions to split the nation or scheme against the government. In fact, his goals centered on conquering Spanish lands held in the west on behalf of the United States; a not uncommon goal of many, as later history would show.

Lastly, Burr was a brilliant legal mind. Isenberg clearly displays this in her book.

All in all, Burr had faults, as did all of the founders. And yet, he was a man of many virtues and strengths, too; often missing from history's telling. I highly recommend Nancy Isenberg's "Fallen Founder - The Life of Aaron Burr," if you wish to get the fuller picture of the man.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Poem: Bush's Mess

With the recent decisions to extend the war in Iraq and increase troop levels, while simultaneously beginning to embrace the Baker-Hamilton Commission report (too late) and open dialogue with Iran (also, too late), the Bush Administration continues to run into brick walls then state, "We meant to do that." Soon, success in Iraq will be defined by Bush as identifying where the country is on a map. This is my telling of the Bush disaster that is the Iraq War.

Bush’s Mess

September 11 brought the enemy front, center.
On Afghani soil our troops had to enter.
Since limited number, to militias deferred;
Bin Laden escaped, while in secret conferred
Illegitimate leaders with a devious plan;
Iraq the real target ignoring Afghanistan.
So as terror remained and its dominion survived,
Leaders Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and Condi connived.
Though no Qaeda connection and of dubious threat;
Twisted intelligence and lying beset;
Troops were diverted to a perilous mission;
Denying our interests ‘cept for business provision.
No planning was laid for a post-war Iraq.
Mismanagement reigned in a country off track.
Stubborn rejection of all rational thought;
For that’s what you get when your leaders are bought.
Iraq’s broken out in civil war with no end.
We’ve emboldened Iran and delivered them friends.
Shia now rule o’er a new “Iran-west.”
For all of the trouble, it is us they detest.
More so ironic, al Qaeda’s gained power;
Where once non-existent, we’ve brought them to flower.
The tally will show blood abundantly spilled.
Three thousand dead soldiers and many locals been killed.
Yet Bush digs in further as he counts down his days;
To play out the string via lies and delays.
Question what we are left with from tyrants who fail;
Our nation less safe and the White House for sale.
We’ve lost world respect and our high ground has crumbled.
The Bush time in office will be viewed as all bumbled.
That’s what is left us and that’s what we get,
When a man of no virtues we do somehow “elect.”
Subtly he switches by a forced opposition;
Plans once ignored he must now requisition;
Changing the story that can fit a “success,”
Lowering the bar though he’ll never confess.
But few still deceived by this mess of his making;
Though asleep for too long, now the people are waking.
Bush will be judged a contemptible liar.
Many have died ‘fore his term could expire.

Copyright SGW 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Poem: Grand Canyon

When I stood before the Grand Canyon, I was speechless. No pictures I had seen before could have done justice to the sense of overwhelm one feels upon viewing this marvel for the first time. Eyes wander from place to place, searching each aspect of the rock. Simply put, the Grand Canyon is beautiful and a testament to nature's magnificence.

I told a friend of mine that I did not think I could describe it in words and openly wondered if I would ever be able to write a poem that would do justice to the Grand Canyon. With that in mind, I went for a modest approach. For those of you who have witnessed the Grand Canyon firsthand, perhaps this touches on what you saw. To all the others out there, maybe this will grant you a small taste and lure you to see for yourselves.

Grand Canyon

Built with patience of endless time
Years erode and shapes define
Layers yield their counted age
Eyes can see but cannot gauge
Stand agape with awe inspired
Image reads of life transpired
Cliffs reach out to touch the sky
Paths lead down where rivers lie
Colors, shapes and shadows meld
Here, a place forever held
Walk away yet never part
Body leaves but not the heart

Copyright SGW 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My latest traveling adventure

I am just returned from a trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Let's start with a big WOW!!

Sedona is an important place if you are a spiritual person. While the area is being quickly torn apart by development and opportunistic millionaires, it remains a strong place for energy flow. The rock formations are amazing, and hiking the red rocks is a must. I experienced the power of vortexes at Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and, my favorite, Airport Mesa. The strength of these places is intense.

Also, if in the town of Sedona, while avoiding the hype of the commercial ripoffs is tough, I highly recommend a Reiki session at Body Bliss Factory Direct. I had an amazing session with Chanda, who provided me with a half hour of enlightenment and opening. I remain in a place of energy flow as I evolve from the encounter.

The Grand Canyon is beyond words, but I will try. You arrive at the various viewing points and are immediately overwhelmed. The eye does not know where to focus. The rock formations and the beauty of this wonder is proof of nature's force. I highly recommend Mather Point, Grand View Point, Hopi Point, and the views from Grand Canyon Village.

If you are as lucky as I was, you might see elk, bobcats, condors, and baby birds being fed in a tree nest (pictures will be coming in the future). We did not encounter bear or mountain lions, but "chasing" a bobcat was somewhere between exhilarating, stupid and once in a lifetime.

Also, if you go to the Grand Canyon, take a helicopter tour. I spent nearly an hour above the Canyon, and the perspective is not attainable without such a trip. The tours are fairly cheap and well worth it.

We did no major hiking, as we did not have the equipment nor time, but perhaps on another trip. I would love the chance to walk the valleys and bath in the Colorado River.

Look for some pictures and maybe poems in the coming weeks.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Poem: Role Model

Role Model

If I were a golfer, I’d be Tiger
As a revolutionary, Thomas J.
To be a painter, how I would love the touch of Pollock
And as a leader, surely Nelson Mandela
But if I could be one person;
Just one.
You, dad, you.

Copyright SGW 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

John Prine: Some Humans Ain't Human

I find John Prine to be one of the best songwriters around today. This song strikes a chord with me, first, because I know some less-than-human humans. One person in particular comes to mind. Also, how can you not appreciate the reference to the fool in the White House?!

Some Humans Ain't Human

Some humans ain't human
Some people ain't kind
You open up their hearts
And here's what you'll find
A few frozen pizzas
Some ice cubes with hair
A broken Popsicle
You don't want to go there

Some humans ain't human
Though they walk like we do
They live and they breathe
Just to turn the old screw
They screw you when you're sleeping
They try to screw you blind
Some humans ain't human
Some people ain't kind

You might go to church
And sit down in a pew
Those humans who ain't human
Could be sittin' right next to you
They talk about your family
They talk about your clothes
When they don't know their own ass
From their own elbows

Jealousy and stupidity
Don't equal harmony
Jealousy and stupidity
Don't equal harmony

Have you ever noticed
When you're feeling really good
There's always a pigeon
That'll come shit on your hood

Or you're feeling your freedom
And the world's off your back
Some cowboy from Texas
Starts his own war in Iraq

Some humans ain't human
Some people ain't kind
They lie through their teeth
With their head up their behind
You open up their hearts
And here's what you'll find
Some humans ain't human
Some people ain't kind

John Prine 2006

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Poem: Small Part

Small Part

Tick, tick, tick the clock will turn
With rapid pace a day might churn
Fears arise as moments wasting
Futures pass a present’s tasting
Life can flash before the eye
Blink, look quick, the scene is nigh
Wrap ourselves in frenzied worry
Focus dims to panicked hurry
Seek perfection; think us clever
World spins on its own endeavor
Still we feed the constant riddles
Just a spoke of larger middles
Try and try to find our niche
Exertions strain a tightening stitch
Tell ourselves, “Just ride the currents”
Stubborn wills are strong deterrents
Words provide no magic potion
Minor drops, and life’s an ocean

Copyright SGW 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Poem: If A Promise

If A Promise

I feel the print of steps I've chosen
A bridge that seeks my God
A path of thorns and thickets forming
Reveals a worn facade

The road can muddy within a flash
'Till feet might weigh a ton
Is the promised land before me now
And God I am your son

While legs grow sore and knees are aching
A thirsting burns my throat
Elusive answers upon the tongue
I swallow words that choke

A million angels will bare a salve
For untold, unknown sin
The darkened sky a looming struggle
Fight demons from within

A brilliant light feeds promised hunger
'Gainst fury of a storm
Countless sighs in timeless breathing
The load that life has borne

Copyright SGW 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Poem: Dubya


Increasingly isolated,
A man sits alone stubbornly.
The fool, unable to see things.
As a world gains new clarity,
He marches forward, losing steps.

Copyright SGW 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Cancer Story Continued

I get a large volume of hits from people looking up testicular cancer issues. You can read "My Cancer Story," and I hope it can be of help to people. In keeping with the spirit of that post, I would like to add on some current activity.

Since my cancer in 1999, I have gone for chest x-rays and blood work once a year(and I get my PSA every year or so, too), along with a checkup from a local Hematologist/Oncologist. I also go for an abdominal CT Scan every three years. This approach will go on indefinitely.

As some research suggests that the radiation treatment I received in 1999 could have some correlation to colon cancer down the road, I have also had two colonoscopies in the last several years. As the last one did not show any polyps, my gastrointestinal doctor advised on another one in ten years. My Hematologist/Oncologist has not weighed in on this yet. Needless to say, I feel very strongly that people should have regular colonoscopies, and I will go again whenever required to do so.

All of these steps are, in my mind, critical and smart. I would rather know something is wrong sooner than later. The person who believes that they will stay healthy as long as they do not go for any tests or exams is, well, a fool.

Recently, my situation gave me a scare. In early October, I began to have discomfort near my remaining testicle. It turns out I have a minor hydrocele, which is not a serious problem, and a small cyst on my epididymis, also, not a problem. These things have become discomforts I can live with. I discovered these things from having ultrasounds performed.

A slightly more concerning matter was the existence of some microlithiasis. Microlithiasis is small calcium pieces in the scrotum. The medical field on testicular cancer is unclear as to whether microlithiasis is a warning sign of testicular cancer, but my doctors feel that since I only have a small amount, there is no need for worry. I will go for follow up ultrasounds once a year now.

I learned some other valuable lessons during this experience. The doctor who performed my surgery in 1999 is a local urologist here in Freehold, New Jersey. He is a good surgeon, but he has the worst personality of any person I have ever known. He does not discuss anything with me unless I force him repeatedly, he is rude and short, and he tends to never tell me any good news, instead focusing entirely on the worst case scenarios.

Some examples? He never informed me in 1999 that I had a 98% recovery rate. Also, when he told me I had cancer, he never offered me ANY comfort at all; simply blurting out a "You have cancer" comment and sitting in his chair stone faced. With these recent goings on, he did not tell me that, while this needed monitoring, there was no crisis. Instead, he let me know that if cancer showed up, my other testicle would be history and I would need testosterone treatments for the rest of my life (he also added a remark about how expensive this would be).

Needless to say, I was extremely frightened. Fortunately, I had seen Dr. George Bosl at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City in 1999, who is arguably the best doctor in the country in the area of testicular cancers. I decided to call him again and he reviewed my information and had his second in command, Dr. Joel Sheinfeld, exam me. Dr. Sheinfeld calmed me and explained everything in a manner that displayed respect alongside a vast knowledge and expertise. Ok, so I have something that has to be monitored a bit. It is not dire and I do not need to panic. What a difference!!

The lessons are simple. If a doctor is rude, obnoxious, unwilling to communicate, and not able to see you as a human being, screw him or her; get another doctor! Also, if possible, it is always valuable to, at a minimum, allow the best in the field to offer a second opinion, if not treat you outright. I will never go to the doctor in Freehold again AND I am sleeping at night knowing I am not nearly as bad off as that doctor had me believing and am getting the best possible care now.

I am a testicular cancer survivor. I have also been through many experiences as a result of that cancer. Please, if you are reading this and have testicular cancer, drop me a comment. I won't have answers for you, but perhaps I can give you a better path to finding them for yourself.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Poem: Book Covers

Book Covers

What did I see in you?
Certainly not what is there.
Or is it gone,
For you are different now;
And less.

Copyright SGW 1998