Below you will find an easy-to-follow guide to everything I’ve published here since joining in November 2020. The most recent stories in each category will be at the top.
You’ll notice some stories will appear in multiple categories — politics and humor, for example — while others only appear in one. The whole idea behind this page is to make it easy for readers to find stories of interest on my profile page.
The categories are:
The Author’s Pick section includes stories and poems I feel strongly about sharing…
Thinking about the past
as if it could be new again,
or maybe a real-time reminder
to live out mindful tomorrows
spent in wiser ways . . .
If I could go forward
and bring it all back
for multiple do-overs
until I got it right . . .
Surely I would love more
and judge less, surely I would
nurture a kinder heart,
a keener smile,
less sniping at conditions.
Surely this moment
is the best chance I’ll ever have
at yet another fresh start.
But here I am again
living like an unborn…
I dreamt I saw you in the afterlife.
You were surprised to see me
in what you had known as heaven
before I arrived.
“Darren!” you exclaimed. “How’d you get in here?”
“The same way you did,”
I answered. “The Way.
And the Truth. And the Life.”
On Earth you might have thought I was being clever,
or cryptic, or somehow misappropriating
the words of our Lord and Savior.
But in heaven you looked at me
with what passes for eyes on the other side
and smiled like someone happy to be home.
“Of course,” you said. …
Since I gave away the punchline in the headline, I’ll start with a storyline that will give readers the back story.
I’m the youngest of five children. My oldest sister was already 16 when I was born in the mid-1960s. She loved Elvis when she was a teen and I was a toddler, and she loves him to this day. One of my earliest memories is dancing with her as she played 45s on a little mobile record player that sat in the middle of the floor. I even remember the song we danced to: “His Latest Flame.”
See how short life is.
Walk through a graveyard
and calculate lifespans.
Dates on tombstones say it all
more clearly than word problems
in the simplest sixth-grade math classes.
Remember how, as children,
we used to imagine that special days
would take forever to arrive?
Birthdays reduced to frantic anticipation
and perpetual future focus
until we opened presents
and tasted cake.
Then came another year of counting down
just so we could answer with a higher number
when someone asked us our age.
There we were,
shrieking and laughing and running
in parks and playgrounds,
never giving a thought
to getting tired…
not far from low-tide shore
across the tracks
by the sea.
dances in the wind,
the wind that blows where it will.
roars wordless wisdom,
conveys indecipherable secrets
of motion and change,
of what it means to grow,
to grow roots,
to bend with grace
and love the truth
of what moves us.
sways while standing,
stands while swaying,
displays true survival skills
moment to moment
in the timeless continuum
that moves with us through time,
time itself a self-winding clock
that winds us with it,
a series of instances anticipated
or arriving out of the so-called blue,
here, then gone,
“And that’s the way it is . . .” — Walter Cronkite,
signing off the CBS Evening News, 1962–81
Readers of a certain age will recognize that iconic phrase as a cultural artifact born in a sociological milieu gone away forever, a time and place in U.S. history when the nightly news held a comforting sense of factual certainty and contextual reassurance. That calming ambience — partly illusory though it was — has since fragmented into an omnipresent environment of baseline doubt, reactionary mistrust, and accusatory malice.
Some of this antipathy toward those who would tell us how things are…
hear the ground sing,
feel nature bring
forth living things,
taste the earthy birthing
of silt and loam,
step through puddle-ooze
and fecund froth,
absorb sacred majesty
of ground’s holy worth,
and sink like faithful seeds
into the primal mud of oneness,
soul grinning, soles greeting
the desirous rib of complicated Adam,
the softer side of curious Eve.
Nothing says “Earth Day” like an earthy poem published in response to The POM’s writing challenge for National Poetry Month!
More poetry by this writer:
No one calls me daddy
or asks me questions about the way of things
as if I might actually have answers.
And the betting man in me
knows the odds of this ever happening
are getting longer. Time slips.
But when I hear a young mother
tell her brightly attired pre-school son
that “the thin kind is called neopolitan, Nathan,”
as she slides a slice across their two-person table
in this pleasant downtown pizzeria,
I dance another motionless dance
and restrain one more boundless smile
for every mother, every father,
every daughter, every son
daughters without daughters,
sons without sons
living our family moments
where we can find them —