Introduction to me

My name is Harvey.

I grew up on the east coast and escaped to the west coast.

Then I found you can’t run away from you.

What I was really trying to find was inside.

Stay with me here…

There’s a lot more space in outer space than in the oceans.

But they are pretty much equal mysteries.

Just like I’m a mystery to me.

That is why I do the poetry marathon…this will be my fourth time (half marathons)…to explore the mystery.


Advice: Don’t think…don’t plan…try to be present.


So far I have used every prompt given.


The hard part is the discipline to go back and take the shell that was created during the marathon and search for the deeper poem within it.

It’s been a surprising pleasure to go back a week or two later and take the poems in sequence and tweak them…

That has gone much faster than I would expect.

And then a week or two after that – do it again.

The hard part is starting…the easy part is taking a gem and polishing it.


Good luck is the fish that is teasing your bait…just waiting to see if you have the perseverance to keep the line in the water until they forget what they’re doing and bite…







I can only brood

at my ineptitude

words just shy of crude.


I know I am viewed a

buck short of shrewd.

As the words that I’ve spewed

put us all in bad moods.

I have somehow accrued

the right to deluge you

with verbal dog food.


Please don’t let me intrude.

I promise not to be lewd,

to save being booed

or even worse skewed.


Since this city’s subdued

I might be wooed as unscrewed,

given some latitude.


Before being barbecued,

I have certitude

the multitudes

wish me my solitude,

so I bid you adieu.









This morning I asked Colleen,

“How do you write a poem?”

“Look it up online,” she said,

“Or ask Siri.”


I guess I’ll give it a try.


I remember when I felt so small

that everything around me was big.

I had to duck from the avalanche.


Their was no choice but to see the

future as a movie and passively watch.


I had no idea that a shell

surrounded me.


There were moments

when I pecked through to

rays of light that helped

wake me from sleep.


And some guides

came along the way.


Yet in time

I had to choose.


Maybe some choices that came before me

were my ancestors pecking through my veins

and telling me to find exuberance.


Because they never had that choice.




Sunflowers on Blue



Sunflowers on Blue


There is winter’s gray,

which can be white with cold.


Spring shakes off my doldrums,

emerges from mud and muck

and screams me awake.


Grows up into summer, it’s

big brother of color, like

sunflowers on blue sky.


My garden dances in certainty.

Its certitude not lost to me.


Fall is forgotten.

Who sees that far ahead?

or ever gets old?


This moment is frozen.

Its all that there is.

It’s all I will ever have.


And bright colors are hiding

though it may look much like gray.







Black Widow




Black Widow



Hey big boy…

Wanna have some fun?


I may eat you.

But maybe I won’t.


Like goin’ out on a limb?

You’re not chicken are you?


Come home to mamma.

Hit a home run.


Find out why I got my name

if you’ve got the nerve.


Maybe we’ll just hang.

Catch a few flies.


Or bring your computer,

spend some time on the web.


Life’s no fun without risk?


You could talk to my last sweetie

but he’s out of town for a while.


Don’t hang there like a sloth.

Come on over, I’ve got some stories to spin.

I Wonder Where?


I Wonder Where?


I wonder where

it is

I can go to see the

people I hear wailing?

Being of different cultures veils them from me like a wall.


They may think I don’t care for

them at all.

But the

hearts in us are our mothers.


And there are many who

are forced, who gave

away what they could not

and don’t ever pretend it was freely.



Not just I.


Many think we did

what we could but really did not.

And search our country’s past to find

what is a fountain pen blot that

wrote our history books. That which has been anointed

to us as truth. And I cannot find hope in such a spot.



Original Poem:

Mother’s Day Mourning

Colleen Schwartz 1997



Inside Out


Inside Out


I sit here in prison.



Johnny Cash playin’.

He’s right.

Sound of trains

tortures me.


It just took a few seconds.


It’s been twenty-three years.

I don’t think about it no more.


Because it also tortures me.

I felt indestructible.

A hot head got me cold time.


No one seems to care.


My so-called buddies used to come by.

Couple of them has been in and out of here.

But mostly it’s just me.


How can one drunken moment define

who I am for the rest of my life?


Well, I’ve got a surprise for you.

Yeah, you.


You’re in prison too.


Before you came here

you were able to fly on some astral plane.

The angels I found told me all about it.


Now you’re stuck in a cell like me.

And I don’t feel so bad.









My sister’s move reminds me of

flowers starting to fade.


I ponder permanence.


Proud bristling thistle

aren’t so bright or so sharp.


My dancing,

drifting meadow of mallow

starts to fall over.


I tie some up. It will

return to the ground.


Ominous smoke drifts

from fires far away.


Such a thief can

steal summer after

such a long wait.



kettle of lies

boils progress

and leaves me just hope.


While my sister picks

a retirement center.










Park Lane East



Park Lane East


Steve called me sophomore year in college and asked if I wanted to lifeguard with him the coming summer even though I had no training. Soon after I was shooshing Timmy as he said, “He’s not Steve,” to the state inspector who was saying, “The pH is excellent Steve, you’re doing a great job!”


I was known to Timmy and the other kids as Boss Kahuna and once in a while wore the black top hat that was inexplicably on the lifeguard stand one morning when I opened up. And there were days when Bob invited me to his and Saundra’s apartment to comingle with the smells of incense and float amidst the East Indian quilts adorning the walls and ceilings. I went through the rabbit hole and back to the pool and could somehow keep my focus. I was flying on the astral plane while swimming in the glorified bathtub known as the Park Lane East pool.


Only once in three years did anyone need to be saved. And just about when my mouth opened in notice that Danny had gone down and not come up, a nearby adult grabbed him automatically and lifted him up.


I remember Clyde who was a balding forty and seemed to be the only one that noticed my visits to a teacher’s apartment who was about ten years older than me. I nonchalantly returned and

sidestepped his questions just like I had learned to strategize in sports. “Vicky’s adding fabric to a pair of Levi’s – turning them to bellbottoms,” I told him (which was true).


And I also learned that lies can come back to bite you when I made up a whopper about an uncle having a heart attack in Connecticut and having to go there from Philly to run his business while he recuperated…when I was really going to Woodstock. And how improbably was it when I became a cabana boy in the Borsht Belt after Woodstock, a job gotten for me by Steve’s twin brother Alan, that someone from Park Lane East would go there on vacation and tell my boss?


I was both attracted and repelled by the hippie movement but Woodstock nudged me to join up. The next thing I know I was dropping out of dental school and joining a hippie commune, which then propelled me to hitchhike west. And I’m still here. So even though a lie began a chain reaction that has defined the rest of my life…I sure make it a point to tell the truth.




When I Can See Inside of Me



When I Can See Inside of Me


Foggy morning clarity

seems therapy of prosperity,

pales and runs away to flee

when I can see inside of me.


But truth be told I only see

that which is in front of me

as if it’s real and tries to be

foggy morning clarity.


When I can see inside of me

I push away this vulgarity

cut all the trees like forestry

within my melody of irony.


Seems therapy of prosperity

is a hidden form of tyranny

that comes bereft of warranty

when I can see inside of me.











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