None So Blind

None So Blind

You see him as a hero
a role model to look up to
but you refuse to see
the mean side he tries to hide.

You know he has a record
plead he deserves a second chance
but you don’t know that he’s been
behind bars many times before.

Truth is the truth,
not what you believe.

You hear her gossip
about a friend, and to look cool,
like you belong, you join in,
criticize the innocent.

You don’t stop her or yourself;
slander slashes your friend,
and soon you’re the subject
being snubbed.

Truth is the truth,
not what you believe.

Listen to fools on the news
to radio jocks spouting crap
and if you follow like sheep
you’re doomed to fall into a pit.

Believe everything you read
and you are in for a rough ride;
trash rags are only good
to line the puppy’s cage.

Truth is the truth,
not what you believe.

Just because she is family
doesn’t mean she can’t lie;
if your gut tells you not
to trust her words, then don’t.

Blood may be thicker than water
but greed and jealousy know
no bounds. Trust the truth,
stay safe, stay true to yourself.

Truth is the truth,
not what you believe.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 14

Never Let Go

Never Let Go

like a stack of snail mail
and not a single bill

like the scent of your dad’s
pipe smoke five years later

like playing poker with a pro
and winning half the hands

like the taste of peach gum
better than the fruit

like a flower in your garden
so perfect, it looks fake

like the vivid memory of a mistake
you’ll never make again

like a smile from a stranger
when you needed one most

like your favorite pen
that keeps writing and writing

like time left on the parking meter
and no ticket on your windshield

like sharing a secret
kept safe with a friend

like learning the hard way
that alcohol is poison

like your favorite song playing
on the radio on your birthday

like texting when talking
is too difficult

like a red rose pressed
into the family Bible

like the scent of mothballs
in Nana’s closet

like sharing a vanilla cone
with your poochie best friend

like riding in the back of a pickup
in a warm June breeze

like you and your muse
thinking the same thoughts

like grasping hands
of long goodbyes

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021   Hour 13

Cranky Pants

Cranky Pants

It’s what we call you, Snickers
when your lips twitch with impatience
at the two puppies that hover over you,
them giving kisses and invitations to play
when you have zero interest in them.

Cranky Pants, we know you’re old
and tired, but these two need guidance
from a good boy like you. But still,
you snarl, bark, even nip at them
to get lost, leave you sleep.

They don’t understand your reticence,
race you to your food bowl and win,
easy enough as you take life slow and
languid; there was no need to rush
before these naughty boys got here.

You’ll be 13 in July, same day as me,
and I get it, Snickers; we share a disposition
for impatience, a desire to savor every morsel
gifted without constant frolicking, or singing
a song of glee all hours. But, in all fairness,
I understand their jubilation of a new day,
their celebration of play and exploring,
their need for your love overriding
a common sense they don’t have.
Their smooth tongues on my face,
their metronome tails wagging, lips
curled in smiles bring me joy.

Perhaps in time, you will accept them
as siblings, teach them the ropes you
had a tough learning from older siblings,
help them ease out of puppyhood into
the kingdom of dogdom. But until then,
Snickers, we will continue to call you
Cranky Pants.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 12

Doctor, Please

Doctor, Please

Can you soothe the ache
of a childhood riddled with bullies
and teachers blinded by a lack of
compassion, not knowing what
to do for me?

Can you stitch away the scar
under my left arm, one I don’t need
to hide but feel when winds turn brisk?
I won’t say I’m blameless but I didn’t
ask for this.

Tell me, can you ease the agony
of a shattered heart, beaten with
a mallet of indifference? If hatred
had hammered me, I could understand,
accept it but pain given to a stranger
to release heirloom racial, religious,
political hatred to an innocent victim
is something I cannot comprehend.

Can you restore dignity to confidence
crushed by greed of the needy, a jealousy
that all that is mine belongs to them? My
possessions are meager but shallow minds
are savage, don’t care that I work hard;
they’ve never had a job.

Can you detox a soul stolen of mercy,
me left hung over a precipice without
an offered hand up? I am repentant for
my misdeeds, penitent for mistrusting
the world but pure in intent to be cured.
Doctor, please, can you erase my ache?

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 11


41 Years Later

41 Years Later

How can it be that
our high school graduation
was 41 years ago?
492 calendar pages flipped
and slipped through our fingers,
slick with holidays and birthdays,
anniversaries, funerals, births.

So many changes in 14,965 days.
At times, it seems so long ago
and yet, some memories crackle
with a crispness, so clear it could
have happened yesterday.

Reunited, we revisit hallowed halls
that echo with steps racing the bell
to class, praying for the bell for recess,
lockers crammed with textbooks
when technology didn’t include
google, smartphones, and no hiding
grades when teachers email test scores
to parents.

Our younger selves played outside
until streetlights sizzled on, then
home for family dinner, homework,
maybe some tv before bed. We drank
from hose bibs, water bottles not
a necessity everywhere we went.
We rode bikes without helmets
or knee and elbow pads, we jumped
into dirty lakes, and made friends
with everyone.

We grew into after school jobs,
took road tests, some a few times;
we got junker cars, piled in on
Saturday night, cruised to nowhere
so long as we were home by 11.
We dated, got dumped, dated, went stag
to school dances, got dates for the prom,
and never envisioned we’d be together
again now.

So, 41 years later, some missing,
some gone too soon, here we are,
a reunion of kids in dress-up clothes,
pretending we’ll never grow up.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 10

Zoom Frequent Flyer Miles

Zoom Frequent Flyer Miles

I’m a world traveler, learning time zones
and date changes before/after midnight.
I zoom from poetry events to writing
seminars and workshops; I’ve even
gone to a baking class, and all from
my desk chair.

I’ve booked more miles
in virtual time than in real time.
One Saturday afternoon, errands
done early, I zoomed into Dallas
at 3pm my time for a live event with
Joy Harjo, the US Poet Laureate, so
inspiring; then at 4pm, I raced off to
Riverhead, a town on the east end of
Long Island that I’ve been to once maybe
twice in my lifetime as a Long Islander,
and so glad I got there virtually, so good;
two hours later, a quick click off to Boston
before they locked the Zoom door at 6:15pm
and lucky to be the last open mic after
terrific features. I click off at 7:55pm,
refill my vodka tonic and make a run for it
to zoom to Kansas for a book launch for
a midwest poet laureate I read with
a few years back when he visited Long Island.

5,330 miles in 6 hours; no plane tickets,
no airport drive, no rent-a-car or hotel room,
no bad road food, no taxi/uber/bus, no lines,
no waiting, no way I could it without Zoom.

I’ve been to several stops in Britain,
to Amsterdam, so many United States,
I’ve lost track. A few stops, I didn’t know
where I was and it didn’t matter. It was all
amazing. I’ve made friends, kept several,
been inspired, delivered inspiration, spent
quality time with kindred spirits and
from a sideways perspective, I am grateful
for the pandemic for these experiences.
I’m hooked, zooming from now until
midnight my time forever.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 9

Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey

It’s torture –
no slow dance steps to end
a waltz slow and steady; no
wait-I-need-more-time time,
no give-me-another-chance
to do-be-better.

It’s not fair –
no warning bell telling me
to get off the tracks, a train
is going to barrel through me.
No commercial interruption
to let me get another glass of
wine-water-vodka before the show
sweeps me up to land on my back,
breathless with surprise-awe-

It’s killing me –
a fix, a hug, a shoulder to keep me
moving along without you, without
me falling to pieces like a broken
jigsaw puzzle box, middles-corners-
borders piled together in a heap
of lost intersections.

I can’t do it –
refuse to let you go, let you
move on without me-us-we.
I’m on my way, will find you
wherever the ends of the earth

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 8

Analyzing Time

Analyzing Time

I tell the students in my class
to sit quiet for one minute.
They laugh; I tell them
it is harder than they think.
More giggles, a few bravado jeers,
little indifference when I dare them.

I set the timer on my desk. 1:00
and seconds tick off in metronome
precision. At 15 seconds in, a few
furtive whispers, some shushing
and quiet for less than 10 seconds.
More whispers, less shushing,
longer to quiet the room.

I say nothing. At halfway,
the room sounds like a row
of confessionals filled with
teenagers after prom weekend.
At 45 seconds, the chats are louder,
more frequent and does not abate
at the honor student’s shushing.

When the bell rings at 60 seconds,
a collective sigh of relief plays tag
with everyone in the room, including
me. This theory of time is hard
to teach, harder to learn, and yet
it amazes me every time.

After dinner at home, I sit down
to check my email and promise
myself only 15 minutes on Facebook.
Two hours later, I log off, email
still unchecked, my brain drained
of confidence that I am qualified
to teach on the subject of time.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 7

One Saturday Night

One Saturday Night

My shopping cart is empty.
I’m browsing, looking, hoping
to find something interesting,
something I think I need,
maybe the excuse of a gift
for someone but no one I know
is having a birthday/anniversary
soon, no holidays approaching
worthy of a gift.

I deserve a present, a shiny, sparkly,
glittering thing that I can put on a shelf
and admire. But, it would be better
if it had a function, a reason
for being here, the answer to
what is my purpose, what am I
supposed to be doing
other than shopping.

Am I ignoring a talent I don’t know
I have, a calling, an artistic flare
for contemporary design, perhaps
for upcycling to save our planet,
crafting, building, writing –
but I don’t feel an inclination.

I move to cookware but already,
all the complications of tools
makes me woozy. Rice cookers
when I don’t often make rice,
air fryers stymie me – no oil
to make crisp french fries seems
occultish, and hundreds of models
of Keurigs makes me want to swear
off coffee.

Housewares, no; bedding, nothing
I need. No dogs or cats, no kids
or grandkids, not even a goldfish…
but they don’t sell fish and anyway,
it’s lots of work cleaning the water
and remembering to feed it.

Ok, so my shopping cart remains
as empty as my life. I guess I’ll log off
and play another boring game of solitaire.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 6

Habits of An Aged Couple

Habits of An Aged Couple

When I say don’t go
I mean leave already.
When I say already
I mean why are you still here,
not moving on, moving along,

When I say gone
I mean out of my life;
when I say life, I wonder
what it will be like without you
hovering over me year after year,
dictating who what where and when
as I ask

When I ask why
I’m curious about why you feel
the need to direct my every move,
every thought, every conviction
and then I realize it’s control.
When I say control, I mean
When I say manipulation, I mean you
trying to take over my life because you
don’t have one of your own.

When I say your own, I mean to mind
your own business, create a happy place
for yourself that doesn’t include
managing me. When I say me,
I mean me,
why can’t I make decisions, take life
by the reins and ride on alone.
When I say alone, I mean I don’t want
to be lonely, don’t want to face
every day bitter with regret, this habit
of arguing over nothing. When I say
you say something. When I say I’ll go,
I mean you’ll go. When I say go,
I mean why did you leave me.

When I say me, I mean you.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 5