Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Read by Don. Click link above.

By Don Iannone

It's Halloween; that one day in the year
when it's ok to dress up as George Bush,
Hillary Clinton, Saddam Hussein,
or any other ghoul you'd like to be.
A Celtic holiday handed down to us,
over two thousand years ago, that
outlasted the many devilish efforts by the Vatican
to overthrow the spirited celebration.
Originally just seen as the boundary
between summer and harvest, and
the long brutally cold days of winter.
But also a magical time, when the boundary
between living and dead slipped away, creating
a fortuitous time for prophecy by the Druid priests,
looking for clues about what the future might hold.
Bonfires blazed, casting shadows all about,
creating the in-between world, that
the priests used as windows through time.
All danced in costumed mystery in that single eve,
when the light and darkness embraced in twilight shadows.
As we watch the last of the autumn leaves
free themselves from the trees, and
we awaken to the first dusting of snow,
we don masks, light candles, and
whirl in the streets as dervishes,
coaxing the unknown from lit jack-o'-lanterns
crying for release from the secrets they hold.

Happy Halloween!
"Doing Well by Doing Good"
Excerpts from Speech by Dr. William R. Brody

(Read by Don Iannone. Click on the title to hear it.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

On Being

Read by Don. Click on title above.

How "are" you?
On Being
By Don Iannone

By chance you see that you're free
to be however you would like to be,
Would you be as you are,
or how you've been in life thus far?
Or would you be very differently?
Then, would you be more happily?
Not at all a simple play on words,
Nor an excuse to follow the herds,
Think about this deeply as you can,
Then craft for yourself a new life plan.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Poetry Reading

Living in the Moment

Read by Don.
Living in the Moment
By Don Iannone

Never a day shall I weep,
Each precious moment I shall keep,
While weary I grow and so I sleep,
In my dreams life does seep.
I shall not tarry or fret too long,
For to the moment I do belong,
In so doing there is no wrong,
So there my life sings its song.
Our sight is bound to a glance,
If we're lucky there's a second chance,
To live it better and so enhance,
The life we live in joyful dance.
Look past yourself and you'll see,
What's good in life and also free,
If you're willing to just let it be,
Each moment goes on for eternity.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dreary Saturday Morning in Late October

Click link above to hear Don read this poem.
Dreary Saturday Morning in Late October
By Don Iannone

The times may be a changin'
as poet-musician Bob Dylan says,
but tonight the time is really changing,
as we turn the clocks back an hour
and go off daylight savings time.
The time may change tonight,
but it's the weather
I wish would really change.
It's a dreary Saturday morning.
The kind of morning causing you
to keep your bathrobe on longer,
and maybe even go for a third cup of coffee.
It's the kind of morning,
that even at nine o'clock,
you need the lights on
to read the newspaper.
It's the the kind of morning
that makes you appreciate sunny days,
especially here in Cleveland,
which will always be outmatched for sunshine
with the likes of Tucson or Tampa,
or even mile-high Denver.
I'm really not complaining.
Days are days, and life is life.
Just some poetical commentary
for folks to read and laugh at.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Winter Night

Click on the link above to hear Don read this poem

Winter Night
By Don Iannone

By the golden fireplace we sat, listening
to the deep silence fall,
like the heavy snow, blanketing
the unflinching forest, lit with sharp edges
by the light of the near full December moon.
Stray fluffy flakes momentarily come to rest,
and then melt on the steamy windowpane.
The fire's flames rise and fall in lunar harmony,
casting faint shadows about the room.
We marvel that each moment seems so different,
much like the magical snowflakes.
On this night, the things mattering before,
now seem far less important,
as the silence of the winter night fills us.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Subtle Revolutions
By Don Iannone

Subtle changes in all of us,
over time and outside of time.
Our minds force us to live in time,
but remember the heart's beat is always
just one step ahead of time.
Things we scarcely notice,
like the replacement of every cell in our bodies
every seven years.
Or things like the maturing of our heart beat,
once it knows love.
These are no small matters,
as you can plainly tell.
Revolutions happen daily,
both inside us and around us.
All this reminds us to pay closer attention
to how we are in any given moment.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Click to hear Don read this poem
Flirting with the Flame
Click to hear Don read this poem.
A Walk on the Dark Side

I'm new at this recording thing.

Please tell me what you think.

A Walk on the Dark Side
By Don Iannone

Supposedly everyone has a dark side.
Anyway, that's what the experts say.
Not the sort of thing
people like to just come out and talk about,
but something we should be able to put our finger on,
so we know how it shapes who and how we are.
I kind of think of the dark side
as a place inside us
that the light just hasn't reached yet.
In that sense, it's like a distant planet or star
that takes a while for light to get to and from.
Another way to think about this side of us
is to see it as a place that truth hasn't visited quite yet.
Eventually truth makes its rounds
to all parts of us.
Rest assured that it will stop by your dark side.
Usually it's best to be proactive
about things like this in our lives.
Take the bull by the horns,
and waltz on over to your dark side.
Take a friend.
I'm told that truth is a good friend
to take along on such an adventure.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First Snowfall
By Don Iannone
Click to hear Don read this poem

First snow fell
upon yards and woods
late last night
while we were sleeping.
Heavy flakes,
six-sided drops of baker's dough,
plopped here and there,
without warning or plan.
Tree limbs gasped and groaned
as mounds of slush
exploited their good nature.
The blustery winds--
we should have known--
an omen of first snow's coming.
But somehow,
the October leaves deceived us into thinking
we had more time.
a child-like urge to play hooky
seized our hearts,
and we decided then
to sit by the window
and sip second cups of coffee.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fallen Leaves
By Don Iannone
Battered tie-died leaves
tumble helplessly
to the waiting forest floor.
Unrelenting sheets of rain pummel
the trees' thick coats
into uncontested submission.
Naked and shivering,
the trees ready for winter's paintbrush
to color them in unadulterated whiteness.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

By Don Iannone

Do you remember 1960 like I do?
I was nine and thought the world began and ended
in my tiny Ohio hometown Martins Ferry,
where my life was about baseball,
hiking in the woods, playing sun up to sun down,
and dreaming about forever happy days.

All real men held manufacturing jobs.
The under-rated Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series
over the New York Yankees in dramatic style.
JFK was elected President over Tricky Dick Nixon.
U.S. pilot Gary Powers was shot down
and captured by the Russians

for spying on the Soviet Union.
The tumultuous Belgian Congo won independence
after intense conflict and great suffering.
Civil rights kicked into high gear

in Greensboro, North Carolina,
where a small group of Black students

staged a sit-in at a local diner,
watched by the country on black and white TV.
The song of the year was
Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,
performed by the inimitable Brian Hyland.
The first "teflon" non-sticking cookware

went on sale at Macy's in New York City,
and drop dead handsome actor Clark Gable dies.
All the while, the late great poet Robert Frost

sat amongst students at Williams College,
reading last lines of poems before passing on.
And I had not the slightest idea
that I would be who I am,

doing what I do,
where I am today.
That was 1960,

and this is forty-six amazing years later.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Simple Plate Hanging on the Kitchen Wall
By Don Iannone
Click here to see Grandma's Plate

There is a plain-looking green and white plate
hanging on our kitchen wall,
that commemorates the 108th anniversary
of the West Wheeling Methodist Church,
where Mom and her family received the Holy Spirit,
when Mom was a young girl.
For some reason, someone decided
to have the plates made up in 1953,
remembering the church's 108th birthday.
Makes me wonder why the honoring process did not occur
on the 100th birthday of the church.
Why celebrate its 108th birthday?
Math was never a priority in most Appalachian hollers.
That could explain it.
Maybe the church's longstanding preacher decided to retire in 1953,
making it an occasion to remember the church.
Most likely, folks' attention was focused on just one thing in 1945,
when the church had its centennial: the end of World War II.
I suspect that had something to do with it.
In any case, I am delighted to have the plate.
It's the only material reminder I have of Grandma Secrist,
and for that I am forever grateful.
Grandma was a wonderful loving lady,
who always wore a hair net, and
who always fed stray dogs and cats roaming the holler.
She also grew the world's biggest petunias,
that spilled over the green flower boxes
on the front and side porches of her 4-room house,
where nine kids, including my Mom, grew up.
Like the old West Wheeling Church,
not a one of the children is still standing, even Mom,
who went home 20 years ago.
The West Wheeling Methodist Church
was a country church in every sense of the word.
The kind of a church with its windows wide open
in the spring and summer to cool off the congregation
from all that hot hell, fire and brimstone preaching.
Also it was the kind of church that had communion at Easter,
and quaint and colorful Christmas pageants
that all the kids played a role in.
It was also the kind of church that hosted too many funerals
because too many men died young in coalmine accidents,
and too many funerals for stillborn babies
because healthcare wasn't what it is today.
Mom and Dad were married in the church in 1947.
I wasn't there...obviously.
Nor can I even remember having been in the church,
but most likely I was, since Mom was the church-going type.
I'm glad the old plate spoke to me this morning
as I made my way to the coffee pot.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Flirting with the Flame
By Don Iannone
Come gather round the blazing campfire.
Let her sensual dancing flames
arouse the sleeping naked you in you.
Let her tongue lap and lick your heart
into unforeseen submission,
and make you want her in ways
you can want no other.
Feel her heat,
growing and subsiding with the wind.
Smell her sweet burning scent
that erupts wild hallucinations inside you,
spilling mystery on the willing host
sitting motionless at her bare feet,
that cling to the cold earth
with roots deeper than your mind can ever go.
Welcome her carefully;
for too much will surely vaporize every last drop of you,
putting you out in the darkness,
where no impassioned spirit can live without her.
Seek her if you will,
and ever so gently touch her,
but hold back enough of yourself,
because once you give your all,
she is you and her fire consumes you,
and she disappears inside you,
and you become her darkness.
Fruit Flies, Updrafts, Tipped Scales and Self-Spun Realities
By Don Iannone

Sometimes the fruit flies get the best of you,
especially when you're not watching,
and when life seems to go astray,
like a loose kite getting caught up
in an unforeseen updraft,
forcing your feet off the ground,
and lifting your spirit far above the highest cloud.
All the while,
the clock inside you spins backwards,
tipping your scales,
making you crazy,
and causing you to lose hope
that anything in life--
least of all your appetite for adventure--
can save you from whatever haunted house
your mind spins when its lonely.
Welcome to the insanity of self-spun reality.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Let Your Light Shine

Short Poetic Breaths
By Don Iannone

......inside you
.........to be released
............just let go

each sunset
...a reminder
......that even beauty
.........must be let go
............just say goodbye

each sunrise
...an invitation
......hope can be awakened
.........within you
...........accept the invitation

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Short Poetic Breaths
By Don Iannone

wordless bliss
...found in the spaces
......where emptiness lives

...the length of any moment
......lived fully

...not a feeling or anything
......just your true nature
No Real Need for Words

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Source: Edelweiss
Using Our Field of Awareness

When you meet with people,
at work or wherever it may be,
give them your fullest attention.
You are no longer there primarily as a person,
but as a field of awareness,
of alert Presence.
The original reason for interacting with the other person ~
buying or selling something,
requesting or giving information,
and so on ~~ now becomes secondary.
The field of awareness that arises between you
becomes the primary purpose for the interaction.
That space of awareness becomes more important
than what you may be talking about,
more important than physical or thought objects.
The human Being becomes more important than the things of this world.
The arising of that unifying field of awareness
between human beings
is the most essential factor
in relationships on the new earth.

~ Eckhart Tolle

Passed along to me by
Dan Shimp.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lake Erie Autumn Sunset

Short Poetic Breaths
By Don Iannone

grasp truth
...within the breath
......then release it

fleeting moments
...like dripping sand
......through the hourglass we fall

mindful reflections
...resting in silence
......peace descends

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Don is Interviewed by Oman Poet and Writer Nasra Al Adawi

Recently I had the distinct honor of being interviewed by Nasra Al Adawi, a well-known poet, writer, and humanitarian advocate from Oman. I am deeply touched by this honor and privilege. With all my heart, I thank Nasra for taking an interest in me and my poetry.

You can read the interview here: Living in Poetry. In addition, please visit Nasra's wonderful poetry blog, A Window Within Myself. There you can read some of her beautiful poetry and learn more about her published collections of poetry.

Born in Zanzibar and brought up in the United Arab Emirates, Nasra (her pen name) began writing in her teens in Arabic and then slowly turned her attention to English poetry.

Nasra is a blessing to all of us. She is truly a shining star and loving heart. Read about Nasra here, her poetry, and her efforts on behalf of cancer survivors. You will never be the same once Nasra touches you.

My deepest thanks to you, Nasra.
Barbra Streisand in Our Nation’s Capital
By Don Iannone

Her first time back in concert
after twenty-seven long years.
At first sight,
the crowd exploded in applause.
One of the longest standing ovations
we’ve seen for anyone—
much longer than for any President.
Barbra sang her heart out—
putting her all into each reminiscent song.
Songs from her early beginning on the Ed Sullivan Show
and throughout her songbird career.
Bringing back the memories of the way we were,
and reminding us how we are even today.
A few political observations shared,
but mostly just musical notes,
pouring through a still pure voice.
Occasionally pushing back
her shoulder length blonde hair,
mesmerizing awestruck fans,
who traveled from as far as Ireland,
and beyond—
just to see Barbra Streisand live
in concert in Washington, DC.
She brought laughter,
and she brought tears,
but most of all tremendous cheers.
A lifelong dream for my wife Mary—
to see Barbra perform live.
Finally her dream has come true.
Even a special experience for me—
until now only a lukewarm fan.
Somehow her voice seems to reach you—
deep inside where only the heart can go.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Side Benefit of So Much Business Travel

When a Factory's Life Ends
By Don Iannone

The foul gray smoke that once belched
from the tall brick stacks
was a bittersweet sign of life--
that the old factory was still working.
The smoke has now ended,
along with the noisy metal-banging,
that for so many years kept men busy from sun up till sun down.
The iron gates are chained shut,
and never again will greet the dark faces of the hardened men
with stale breath from strong black coffee and cigarettes.
It's too easy to blame too many strikes
for the factory's foreboding silence,
but hungry workers elsewhere,
willing to work for much less,
and customers needing less metal,
are just as much the reason
why the dark faces have grown much darker.
The mill is history--
a cold, lifeless archeological ruin,
and so are the paychecks that paid the bills
and gave some small consolation to the two thousand men,
who laughed at each other's lame jokes,
and dreamed of days when they wouldn't have to work so hard.
Now that day has come,
and the dreams and jokes have ended.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Reflections on Kabbalah
By Don Iannone

Have you ever been filled by words
that seem alive to you,
without anyone there to utter them,
or even anyone inside you to hear them?
Words put together in a way
that feel like a deep river,
flowing through you,
filling and emptying you simultaneously.
Words that seem to write themselves
in your many blank spaces,
that are filled with possibilities,
going far beyond the ridiculous words you use
to try to articulate what you feel.
Words that know you—
but not because they are your words,
but because they are you.
You struggle to find
where the words start and end,
but somehow you know—
they have no beginning or end.
When your struggles produce nothing,
you’re inclined to dismiss them,
but they won’t go away,
because they are you,
and that is inescapable.

Author's Note: The kabbalist path is the mystical path in Judaism. I learned some amazing things in my course on this topic this past quarter.
Gates Pass, Tucson, Arizona
Look at this and tell me there is no God!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How Things Are
By Don Iannone

what we think, and
not always the way the world is.
those we impose,
and those imposed by others.
those we live in,
and those others draw.
a self-initiated pendulum,
and a metronome of the self.
What's important:
what really is,
and not always what we think.
what's important,
and only ours to borrrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Solving Your Mystery
By Don Iannone

Danger lurks
where the reach of darkness
exceeds the grasp of light.
So is true in life,
when it calls us beyond known darkness,
and into unknown light.
Light and dark are one,
as day and night are one,
as any question and its answer are one,
and as any thing and its opposite--
can only be one.
Just as true,
danger and safety are one,
joined by two threads:
one pulling us together, and
one pulling us apart.
The tension between the two tendencies
creates the mystery that we are.
No need for confusion,
for that too has clarity,
and both together are also one.
All riddles, kones, puzzles,
and mysteries of all sorts,
never aim to lead us astray,
rather back to who we are,
where our mystery is ultimately solved.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thank You for Flying Continental Airlines
By Don Iannone

It's early.
Six AM to be exact.
No sign of sun at this hour
in mid-October in Cleveland.
We're about to take off.
It's that pregnant time
between the gate and the runway.
The plane is jam packed.
Reminds me of a flying sardine can.
I have a winning campaign slogan
for Ohio's next governor:
"Middle seats on all airplanes taking off
and landing in Ohio should be outlawed."
We worry about terrorists...
how about the snoring cowboy next to me?
When is that "beam me up Scotty" technology
going to be available?
I'll bet Continental Airlines has it,
but won't release it
because the company bought too many airplanes--
all of which have those insane middle seats.
Travel is a pain.
No such thing as comfort and convenience.
Both are lost arts,
like a good night's sleep, and
a dry cleaner that really presses wrinkles out of shirts.
Why do I sound like that drone Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes?
God help me if I do.
No roses to smell this morning--
just a snoot full of jet fuel fumes.
How I hate that smell.
Where's that gourmet coffee described
in the Continental flight magazine?
I need caffeine now!
I promise I won't spill it during take-off.
Trust me--
I have a steady hand
when there's a drink in it.
I guess this is the price you pay
for being in business for yourself,
and having clients 2,300 miles away.
Anyway, thank you for flying Continental Airlines.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tucson Sunset
Magic painted on sky and saguaro cactus

Zapped by Truth
By Don Iannone

Bare truth descends,
like an unannounced lightning bolt
from inner sky.
It's a direct hit.
All in its path--
blown to bits.
Complete descimation.
Debris everywhere.
Nothing left to cling to.
Ego loses. Truth wins.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

October Full Moon
By Don Iannone

Why does the October full moon
seem so lonely, yet so bright?
Why does her luminous light
seem so still, without flicker?
Why does solitary moonlight
fill my dreams with deep mysteries,
keeping me awake as I sleep?
Why does the moon remind me
there is more to life
than what the sun can show?
Why do such questions stir and linger inside me
like hungry grey wolves
scouring the woods for prey?
Why is there no rest
until I make peace with the moon?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Short Poetic Breaths
By Don Iannone

morphing caterpillar
...walks from one life
......into another

wind whistles
...leaves fall
......fall leaves

full moon
...full heart
......life is good

Friday, October 06, 2006

sunny voices
......long ago
............Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
remember to tell yourself today
......that you love you
............just the way you are
Friday poems
......happy ones

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Chemistry of Ferry in the Fifties
By Don Iannone

Hardworking sons and daughters of immigrant warriors.
Brave souls,
accustomed to long days and even longer nights.
Folks who sleep with their windows open during the summertime,
and pray for a breeze--
even the slightest,
to dry the sweat trickling down the middle of their aching backs.
Silently worrying in their dark bedrooms,
about money, family, and health,
and hoping there really is a God,
who can provide a miracle ending their pain.
Even in all this suffering,
there is a deeper chemistry that makes up these people--
their hopes, dreams and struggles.
Men who cash their paychecks on Friday evenings
at the local A&P grocery store, and
who always forget something on their wives’ shopping lists.
Men with steel-hard hands with sandpaper rough calluses
from turning wrenches,
picking coal,
and pounding smoothness into bowed steel sheets.
Men who awkwardly hug their children,
hoping the chemistry helps them find their way in life,
without too much pain and sorrow.
Like their parents and grandparents,
the people of Martins Ferry restlessly search for the dream.
You know...the American Dream.
Like the thick lazy streams of smoke
drifting from the chimneys atop their houses,
their dreams form heavy 1950s clouds,
keeping them from seeing beyond today's bills,
and their sick child who must go to the doctor.
Children shoot marbles…cat's eyes and boulders
under the giant tree on the Elm School playground.
The sun breaks free of the clouds for just a moment,
but long enough to keep the faint hope alive
that they inherit early from their stern, hardworking parents—
who complain about their materialistic children
and how they will never come to visit them
on Sunday afternoons when they grow old.
There is a chemistry about a place,
particularly the place where you grew up.
It lingers in your soul,
quietly waiting for the right moment to come out.
It shows:
in how you greet strangers,
whether you shine your shoes in the morning,
how generous you are with your smile,
especially when you don't feel loved.
It even makes a cameo appearance in how you cut your grass.
The chemistry of Martins Ferry can be as rancid
as the dead catfish fishermen leave
along the shores of the Mighty Ohio, and
it can be as sweet and peaceful,
as the sun-filled clover fields,
inviting young boys to lie on their backs and dream
about far-off places they will visit someday.
Either way,
the chemistry makes us who we are.

Written in memory of James Wright, Martins Ferry's poet son.
Inspired by my adventuresome childhood friend, Dan Shimp.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

huddled cornstalks
......leaning on each other
............we all need someone in life

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

frisky squirrels play tag
......squabbling over fallen acorns
............everything in life has its truth

Monday, October 02, 2006

gentle earth spirits stir
......once sleeping golden aspens
............awakening in powder blue sky

golden sunlight reaching
......through lingering morning clouds
............a new day begins

Sunday, October 01, 2006

God appears
......as white sunlight
............streaking through tall snowy hemlocks

Snowy Forest Peace
By Don Iannone

I long for the snowy forest,
where the lone owl
speaks between snowflakes,
and where the wind takes my hand
leading me off into oblivion,
and where the quiet is so loud
I can't hear myself think,
and where the cold biting air
snaps reality like frozen tree limbs,
and where I find peace
waiting in silence under the giant hemlock,
and where God appears as sunlight
through snow-covered branches,
and where I stand awe struck
with tears streaming down my cheeks
for no reason other than my feeling alive.
Your Music is Your Life
By Don Iannone

Your music is your life,
singing itself to you.
Not the same tune for everyone,
but the one you hear and dance to,
from sun up to sun down.
Your music is your life,
clinging to you like the air you breathe.
That background melody
you tap your teeth to
and can't seem to shake from your mind.
Your music is your life,
pacing your steps forward, backward, and side to side.
It's that cosmic vibration seizing you,
and shaking you loose from all else,
and bringing you back to you.
Your music is your life,
something staying with you
longer than the longest cold.
Maybe it's Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind,
or Peter, Paul, and Mary's Puff the Magic Dragon.
Listen to your music.
It's your life telling you
what you've always known about yourself,
that no one else could possibly tell you.
Sing along and remember who you are.
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