Dear Dream

Dear Dream

Please rest.
No more digging, store the shovel
in the shed until spring. No dredging
corpses of regret, no changing the past,
let’s move forward.

No more digging up, leave skeletons
in the closet until we move. There’s
no need to remind me that buried things
are alive with maggots creeping over
dirty secrets I wish I never knew.

No more prying, leave the coffin lid
down, leave it locked like two padlocks
on my heart; shattered shards heaped
in my left ventricle if shuttered, will
heal in shadowed eaves.

Please, let it go, let it fly off,
no need to keep anything (anyone)
here who longs to be elsewhere (me).
It’s hard to hide my grimace when you
show me bullet casings lodged in a
basement door, play the soundtrack
of a creaking casket lid, wake me
to the stench of horror when I beg you
to take me to a tropical island, invite me
to lounge on a beach, let me fall in love
with birdsong carried on soft breezes.

Please, leave me be, allow me time
and space to forget dark memories,
wrenching snapshots of bitter words
and slammed endings; let silence be
my companion until I can breathe again.

let me rest.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 4



I laugh, say Gumball is helium-filled,
his round and sweet body grows overnight
as though he will be a cartoon canine balloon
in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Just four months, and he is taller and
nearly outweighs his brother, Munchkin,
who is 10 months old. Gumball’s feet
are like couch cushions, thick-padded
comfort for his bulk, his swagger broadcasts
confidence, his mischievousity beyond bounds
finding every missing pen and pencil, now
trademarked with his razor-teeth imprint.

He is cute, and not just because I say so.
He’s heard it, knows it, and uses it to try
to get away with naughtiness. I worry
that as he gets older, his cuteness will be
shadowed by fear of Pitbulls, a breed dealt
with a bad rap. There is no such thing as
a bad dog, just bad owners. I believe this
with every particle and nuance of my being.

Gumball is part Pitbull, the obvious part,
broad chest, stocky body, his ears still
flopsy-mopsy, boxy head, though he has
bulldog wrinkles and a soft-sloped brow.
His other mixes remain a question mark.

Gumball is white with chocolate syrup
splotches; professionals call it liver but
I prefer dark chocolate on all counts. His
back is butterfly wings on the right, and
on the left, a series of intersecting circles,
like a collage of gumballs on a white table.
He has round splotches on his head, and
remarkable as it seems, he has two perfect
half-circles under his eyes and corresponding
halves on his upper lids. Gumball give kisses
freely; it took some time to see these mysteries
between smoochie, drooly licks.

But his eyes are the greatest miracle of all.
Hazel, clear and gorgeous, the windows to an
amazing soul, rescued from death, grateful to be.
And when I look into those kind wondrous eyes,
I am convinced God has hazel eyes, too.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 3

Questions Unanswered

Questions Unanswered

At least a dozen times a week
I will hold out my palm, something
generally plastic, mangled into
an odd shape, dented, mutilated
to a good degree, and yet it looks
familiar, and ask my husband,
“What is this?”

He’ll chuckle, look down at the floor
before examining this fabrication of
wonder, and ask the general population
of our home, “Well, what is it? What
was it? Who did this?” No answers.
Six months ago, we would know
who the culprit was,

but now, we have two puppies,
their curiosity streaming all around
our home, enticing them to chew,
gnaw, steal anything left in their path.
We blamed it on teething when
Munchkin, the older one, was young,
back when we counted his age in
weeks, not months.

A floor tripping with toys, he would
hunt out a ball of yarn he’d tear into,
or a pair of shoes left out of the closet –
always Paul’s, never mine, or
his favorite for treasures, the garbage pail.
Never fail, we’d find some reshaped form
of something that was and would never
be again.

And now, 6 months later, we added
Gumball to our family. Round and sweet,
he lives up to his name, but he is ten times
more resourceful than Munchkin. Taller
already, he reaches tabletops and cubbies
not meant for puppy access. He’s also
a bad influence; Munchkin has reverted
to chewing.

So now, the “What’s this?” question
expands to “What was it, where was it,
who found it? Who did this?”.
We can only guess what the garbage men
must think of the contents of our chewed-
up recycle bin.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 2



I wake to a caramel macchiato day
sun broadcasting a gorgeous June morning
and I am ready to face what it gifts me.

I avoid naysayers who convince themselves
they can’t do anything they want, can’t try
to accomplish something sweet and special.

Their vibes are toxic trash, contagious as
a cold in kindergarten, and I’m not one
to bring myself or anyone else down.

I can. I will. I often do, and sometimes
I fail and though it stings like a needle
of reality, I am needful of the lessons.

Get back up, try again, remember what
it was that didn’t work, and right it; most
of the time, I succeed and I am grateful.

Today, I will accomplish something
I am proud of; today I will do something
for someone else to help lift them up.

Join me. Make this Saturday a day
burgeoning with glimmering hope
and sparkling possibilities,

and if you need a good word, a hand up,
a pat on the back, call me. I’d love to
share this captivating day with you.

~ J R Turek
June 26, 2021 Hour 1

Pre-Marathon Poem


Construction begins tomorrow
at 9am sharp, not weather dependent,
not whether I’m ready or not, not
a question of it not happening,
God willing.

Before 9am, I will say my rosary
and my daily prayers, shower,
slather in some mega-moisture
conditioner and leave it in; I will
not be going anywhere tomorrow.
I will pick a pretty bathing suit and
that will be my construction outfit
for the day; I will not be swimming,
cleaning, doing laundry or cooking,
I won’t even be digging in the garden.

I will be excavating the ponderous pile
of pending poems that are strewn
in random order in my head. My muse,
Harry, and I will sort and write, edit and
polish, one poem an hour for 24 hours.
As a team, we will tap into lines jotted
on scraps of paper, old envelopes, and
lining journals that line every bookshelf,
prompts hanging from curtain rods, hiding
in dust bunny fashion, and those right
before my eyes. The Poetry Marathon
welcomes us in unabashed embrace
and we can hardly wait.

There will not be enough time in one day
for us to deconstruct my writhing darlings,
to undam all those recalcitrant snippets
that litter the byways of my brain canals
but we will pickaxe them like rich veins
of pure gold, mine them into versed lines,
titled, kissed, and cataloged, and then
move on to the next and the next
until two dozen fledglings breathe.

9am Saturday sleepless through 9am
Sunday. A few miles on the exercise bike,
berries in blue, black, and red to snack on,
and the holy grail of decadent rewards –
one piece of dark chocolate for every poem
birthed, scrubbed, and baptized. I hid the bag,
will abracadabra it to my desk in the morning,
along with hot caffeine until noon, then cold,
then maybe a splash of gin that goes so well
with Dove chocolates, and those inspirations
inside the foil wrappers will become magical
poems when the sky is sparkled with stars
and my Harry is napping.

A day away, construction begins tomorrow,
a tool belt full of metaphors, no hard hat,
no work boots – I’ll be barefoot; no way
I’m going to miss this distraction-empty time
writing writing writing. Join me if you dare.

~ J R Turek
June 25, 2021

2021 24-Hour Poetry Marathon

Woohoo!  Just days until the adventure begins.  No distractions, no laundry-errands-shopping-leaving the house, and no naps!  Such a delicious idea to empty my head for one entire day and focus on writing poetry.  Caffeine, yes.  And, I have hidden a bag of decadent dark chocolates, one an hour as a reward for a poem (they’re small, it’s ok).

I enjoyed last year so much, enticed friends to join in who invited friends, and we had a great time.  I love every poem I wrote so much, that I recently published them into a chapbook, 24 in 24.  So exciting!  (Available from

Counting down…



You vowed never to forget
Tuesday, September 11, 2001,
a business morning, workers rushing
to beat time clocks, when the first plane hit
between floors 93-99 of the 110-story
North Tower; it’s 8:46am, do you remember?
At 9:03am, a second plane hits floors 77-85
of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Nineteen terrorists on suicide attacks, hijacking
planes, a third hits the pentagon at 9:37am
and a fourth crashes into a field at 10:03am
in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. At 9:59am,
the South Tower collapses, followed at 10:28
by the North Tower. Do you remember where
you were, what you were doing when you heard
the news? I am sure you remember the grief,
disbelief, anger, distrust, misery, heart-shredding
pain these attacks caused.

Do you remember the chaos, falling steel and
concrete debris, fires, and dust everywhere.
Horror of human cinders, cries for help, and
do you remember the uniforms rushing in to
help, to do their duty to shield their community
from terrorists?

Firefighters trained to control flames,
ambulance workers trained to save lives,
and police officers sworn to protect and serve.
One minute after the first plane hit the North Tower,
police were dispatched to the scene, along with fire-
fighters and emergency service personnel. One minute.
Do you remember the photos of police covered in dust,
carrying survivors, mourning victims, their tears real?
I wonder if you remember how proud you were of them,
how proud of our city, state, and country.

Try to envision the pride you displayed in seeing in flags
flown everywhere, our red white and blue; bloodshed
from innocent victims, protected by blue uniforms.

“The mission of the NYC Police Department
is to enhance the quality of life in NYC by working
in partnership with the community to enforce the law,
preserve peace, protect the people, reduce fear, and
maintain order.”

Do you remember last week when you were captured
by the press marching in protest, flinging profanities
and middle finger threats at police officers there,
doing their job to keep the peace, to keep you safe
by controlling non-peaceful protestors?

Do you remember 9/11, Patriot Day, 2,996 victims,
25,000 injured, memorials of flowers and pictures
on street corners and billboards, the missing, the agony,
the loyalty of a united nation.

Do you remember how you said
you’d never forget…

~ J R Turek
June 28, 2020
Hour 24

There’s Still Time

There’s Still Time

Though I hear my internal ticker
tocking off the years, I remind myself
that it’s not too late to learn something
new, try something different, go places,
even just to take a closer look at what
I’m doing, what I need and want…

and I pause at want. The seconds tick by.
What do I want? I know what I need,
know my obligations, responsibilities,
aware of my time and financial budgets,

but what do I want?
I always wanted to learn to play piano;
take an overnight ride on a train; watch
a sunset on the beach; teach someone
to write, if even just their name.

I’ve often thought about learning
another language besides the crumbs
of French and Spanish I know. I’d love
to take a course on mural painting, not just
on tee shirts, shoes, and my garage.

I miss spending summers in the Amish
Country in Pennsylvania as a teenager;
driving east through vineyards
on Long Island; I miss going fishing…
and as I close my eyes and inhale,
I can smell the salt air, taste the sea
on my lips, and remind myself

that there’s still time but don’t wait.
Go, now, before I forget what I want.

~ J R Turek
June 28, 2020
Hour 23



bed warmer
comfort giver
storehouse of kisses
keeper of secrets
owner of an old soul
thief of my heart

~ J R Turek
June 28, 2020
Hour 22

Forgive Me, Muse

Forgive Me, Muse

Bless me, Muse
for I have sinned.

I intentionally
misplaced 4 commas
7 times,
stole an entire line
from Shakespeare
(like he’d know),
resorted to using
2 adverbs
and 3 clichés,
rewrote Frost’s
most famous poem
(I like mine better).
I defied Webster
80 times last week,
and I lied
in every poem
I’ve written this year,
and last year,
and all the years
I confess
I regret
none of it.
forgive me, Muse.

~ J R Turek
June 28, 2020
Hour 21