Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Heaven: Come and Go as You Like
By Don Iannone

Heaven's doors are always open
...and all we have to do walk in.
Too often
...we make the Holy too hard
...and too complicated.
Heaven's doors are open to all
...and receive all
...wishing to journey inward.
You can enter any time
...and leave any time.
Reservations are not required
...and no early withdrawal penalties apply.
You may be dying go to heaven
...but remember there is no need die to get there.
The greatest thing about heaven is
...there is nowhere to go
...and nothing to do.
For me, that's the best part.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

By Don Iannone

Moon swan on still water.
No ripples.
Only peace.

It's a gift...
the moon
...the swan
......the water
.........the absence of ripples, and
the peace
...brought on the stillness.

Monday, February 26, 2007

My Poems are My Friends
By Don Iannone

My poems are my friends.
They tell me things I need to hear, and
to which I am prone not to listen.
They give words to feelings inside, that
otherwise I may not know I have.
They steady me during times of turmoil,
and times when I'm too lost
to find my way.
They remind me of parts of myself
that I've forgotten
and not spoken to in a long, long time.
They help me feel something
for others' pain and suffering,
which too often gets buried deep
beneath my own.
They encourage me to see the world differently--
in ways I'd ordinarily not choose to see it.
They give advice, understanding,
compassion, and wisdom to others--
to many I've never met, or will ever know.
My poems are my friends, and
for their honesty, candor, humor and love,
I honor them with my deepest poetic thanks.
Working with Your Stuff
By Don Iannone

Working with your stuff--
in ways you haven't before.
Working with the stuff of your life--
to get it together, heal, and
access the best part of yourself.
Working with the stuff of your life--
to be nothing more or less than you are, and
to live in peace and harmony.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Closing Concert on Early Beginnings
By Don Iannone

I am close to having my childhood back
as a long lost part of my life.
There is some pain, but there is for all of us,
in remembering the early hurt parts of ourselves,
which we desperately need
to become all that we are--yes,
to become all that we are.
The early Martins Ferry years came back--
rather unexpectedly, like a full moon
quietly emerging through thick night clouds.
There were re-ignited friendships--
with Dan, Mike and Richard--
boys I knew and still love from Martins Ferry.
Like your first love,
your earliest years are infinitely poetic,
and therefore it's no surprise
there are so many poems
about childhood discoveries, passion, and
living like there is no tomorrow.
There have been magical journeys back
to the native land, where
those who loved most the child I am,
lie in rest, and await the time
when spirits hug again in sweet embrace.
It's not about going back really, rather
it's about drawing into your heart
those early parts of you, helping
you complete your circle of life, and
start over again at a new beginning.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Late February Arizona Sunset
By Don Iannone

A lone Harris hawk swoops and swoons
between shallow furrows cut
in the saguaro-carpeted mountains
just before Friday sunset.
Something about the tan bouldered rocks,
the endless azure sky, marbled
with slow drifting gray-white clouds,
and the slight glint of the near setting sun
on the hawk's out-stretched wings,
makes your heart long, and long deeply,
to be forever a part of this moment--
so close to turning orange and salmon-pink
before making room for the Arizona night sky.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Conscious Communities

Don has started a new blog replacing his longstanding economic development blog. It is called Conscious Communities and can be found here: Conscious Communities
When asked why I made the switch, I said "The sacred geometry of life is too important and powerful, and we don't honor it enough. One way to do that is to become more conscious of the communities we create and how those communities shape our consciousness of ourselves and others. Our communities become poetic to us when we see the sacred energy flowing through them and through us."
Giving Thanks for Those Who Remind Us
By Don Iannone

I passed by a man today,
who had but one eye.
I gave thanks for my very good vision.
I passed by a man today,
who was cursing his poor dog
for not obeying him.
I let go of my need
to mold and control others.
I passed by a very old man today
who had badly lost his way.
I helped the man return to his path,
and thanked him for reminding me
that I had turned a wrong corner in my life.
I passed by a lovely little girl today,
whose beautiful face was missing a smile.
I made a funny face at her
and she burst into laughter.
Seeing her laugh made me laugh out loud.
I passed by a woman today
who complimented me on my tie.
I thanked her, and when I got home,
I thanked my wife for buying the tie for me.
In all, there is a lesson for us to learn.
Give thanks for those who remind us.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

February Sunset Concert
By Don Iannone

A slowly disappearing evening sun
paints Confederate gray clouds
with subtle streaks of marbled salmon-pink,
while melting snow drips
in classic three/four time.
Consciously, I am here--
soaking up Ma Nature's classic February concert,
but a part of me lingers,
just long enough to remember
an early evening spent gazing
at an Arizona sunset--
one not remarkably different than this winter eve;
just two thousand miles away, and
forty degrees warmer.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In Search of a Metaphysical Explanation of Why Two Toilets Crap Out at the Same Time
By Don Iannone

Crappers crap out--
even the best of them, and
that would be a Toto, or
so says our $150 an hour plumber.
Did you know toilets breakdown
for a lack of use, as well as over-use?
Go figure.

I wouldn't be kidding if I said
all this beats the crap out of me.
Why would two fine, upstanding commodes
bite the dust at the same time?
Reincarnation plans together?

It would be different
if we had young hooligans about the house,
who thought flushing tennis balls
was an entertaining way to spend
a cold, snowy Sunday afternoon.

Well, the good news is
we are the proud parents of
two identical twin Toto toilets.
Both just waiting
to show us what they can do.
Can't wait to give them a test drive.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gathering Fresh New Possibilities by the River
By Don Iannone

It's been a long time
since I played by the river--
along the Mighty Ohio,
where I last knew myself
as a eager young boy.
Such unstoppable power
in the river, and in being young, and
in playing things real.

By the river, we played,
for hours on end.
Fishing, skipping flat rocks,
and dreaming--yes dreaming
of times not yet come, when
we'd be out of here,
and somewhere else
other than here.

Why is it so hard now to just play, and
dream of times not yet come?
Why is there so much pain
in gathering up fresh new possibilities
that carry you, like the river
to another place you've not been?
Today, let me be that boy,
dreaming unstoppable dreams by the river.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Golden Pig Baby Business
By Don Iannone

No reduction this year
in China's population.
Crossover the pig and gold
in Chinese astrology,
and you get millions
of lucky new Golden Pig babies.
Happens every sixty years--
that's five years short
of the years needed for you and me to retire.
We should be so lucky,
or be a Golden Pig baby.
Auspicious or suspicious?
Maybe some of each.
Does it matter?
Not really.
Mother Nature will ultimately weigh in
on China's popping Pig baby population.
Don't mean to me cynical, but
ask Proctor and Gamble, Toyota,
or any major corporation across the world
porking up on the fertile Chinese market.
For them,
it's the Year of the Golden Ringing Cash Register.
So, bring on those Golden Pig babies.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Getting Hitched on a Saturday Night
By Don Iannone

Wedding bells ring.
Sacred vows made
on a knee-deep snowy Saturday night.
Two people--you scarcely know
decide to tie the knot, and make legal
what they've already had for some time.
Another instance in life
where there is an affair
you must go to
because someone you know
knows someone you don't know, and
you must go because
someone you don't know
might tell someone else you don't know
that you weren't there.
To my complete chagrin,
it was wonderful party, and
I was glad to be present after all.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Recovering on a Snowy Saturday Morning
By Don Iannone

The fresh fallen snow brings welcomed silence
on a lingering gray Saturday morning.
It whispers and hushes,
as only a tender-loving mother can do.
It buries the agitation, frustration and stress
of a disastrous work week, turning
amusing dreams into horrifying nightmares.
The fresh fallen snow brings insulation
from the pain of self-doubt and self-flagellation--
both all to familiar ways we abuse
the beautiful spirits given us by God.
Once again, there is the reflection:
What really is the work we do?

Friday, February 16, 2007

We Walk This Road But Once
By Don Iannone

We come this way but once.
There is no stopping us
once we're here--until
the road we travel ends, and then
a piece of us continues--
on another road
that we can't know--until
the road we're on has ended.
We come this way but once.
It is always the first time--
on whatever road we travel.
It is always the first time--
on whatever road we walk.
Next time we walk a road,
may we be gently reminded
we've walked other roads before.
But on this road,
we shall walk but once.
Dedicated to Joanne
By Don Iannone

We write our lines.
Even the bitterest, saddest and most painful--
to the very end.
I think there comes a time--finally,
when we want someone
to simply take away the pen,
and stop the writing.
I think there comes a time--finally,
when the words become
too hard to write, and
what we write is too much to bear.
The writing stops--eventually
for all of us.
Even those of us writing
perfectly beautiful lives.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's All One
By Don Iannone

our lives without lines, pieces, or parts,
or years, or moments
separating us from ourselves.
Put it all back together--
the way it was before
we separated it.
Let's hope, this time,
unity prevails over division,
separation, or form--yes form too
breaks us down, causing us
to see pieces and parts, when
there is only one whole
piece of cloth
to which
we all belong.
It's all the same.
Every last non-bit of it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Dying Friend: Trying to Find the Words
By Don Iannone

Our friend Joanne is dying.

It's February 14th, and
she has been dying for a long time.

Please understand that
it is not my job to pronounce, or
predict another's passing.

What do I really know about dying?
My knowledge is strictly theoretical.
You might say...
it's vicariously second-hand.

Cancer takes many of us.
It is ghastly insidious.
Infiltrating us cell by cell, and
like Amazonian piranha,
eventually all is eaten away, leaving nothing.

Cancer is just one of death's ugly paths.
There are many others.
I don't have to name them all.
Like the bodies I saw on stretchers
by the side of the freeway
just a week ago.

On the matter of death,
I am utterly word-bound.
You watch it.
It watches you.
You turn away.
For now, the shroud is not yours.
You go on living.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow-Bound Tuesday
By Don Iannone

The winter cares nothing
about whether it is Tuesday,
let alone whether you're cold
and trapped under her heavy wet blankets.
She doesn't mourn your loss of time
due to impassable snow-clogged roads.
Frankly, she does only what she knows how to do,
which is to be winter,
complete with bitter blowing winds, mind-numbing cold,
and deep piles of silencing snow.
Don't blame winter for being true to her nature.
Heed her powerful message: be true to your nature.
By Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Monday, February 12, 2007

With the Feet God Has Given Us
By Don Iannone

God gave us feet
so we could take steps,
moving us closer to Her.
She couldn't rightly ask us
to follow Her, if
we didn't have a way
to get from where we are
to where She invites us to be.
Footloose at times,
we can be fancy free to wander
where our will entices us to go.
Our feet ground us, and
keep us sure-footed as a Capricorn,
steadfastly climbing Kilimanjaro.
Then at the top,
where the feet can take us no further,
we suddenly sprout wings, like Mercury,
lifting us into the sky, and
carrying us the rest of the way home.
By Don Iannone

We ate spam
when I was a young boy.
Reluctantly so, I might add.
Disgusting stuff.
Horrid tasting, even fried
and served up with gobs of ketchup.
Mom tried tricking us
into eating the slithery, sliced, spiced ham
and who knows what else amalgamation.
She'd hide it under a fried egg,
a slab of Velveeta cheese, and even once
she tried to disguise it as meatloaf.
The taste was distinctive;
much like castor oil or K-rations
left over from World War II.
Hormel has even stooped so low
as to create a Spam Museum,
and sponsor annual Spam fests.
Give me a break!
Beware. Just last year,
Hormel came out with Spam Singles, and
no these are not unmarried Spam eaters.
You got it.
We're talking single packaged slices
of the gristlely, greasy stuff.
Don't bother buying me a ticket
to the Ohio Spam Fest this year.
I think I'm busy.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Heart Fires Burn Brightly
By Don Iannone

A fire, well-stoked,
burns with tenacity and passion,
like a heart filled with love,
whose embers glow bright red and orange,
casting out the lonely darkness
that for so long cloaked its light.
Find your way--by the fire.
Rest there, as the night passes,
and as you engage the light
and enter finally into its midst.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Impermanent Being
By Don Iannone

Comes a time
when we must go.
Before that time
we don't exactly know.
Seems unfair
a secret to the very end.
But how much notice
we cannot amend.
No matter how much time
we have to be...
It's never enough for you or me.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Poetic Steps Toward a Bleacher Seat in Heaven
By Don Iannone

Perhaps the best thing I do in life
is birth a single poem every day.
It seems the greatest defense
against life's bitter illusions,
trounching last drops of honesty
inhabiting my ageless soul.
Perhaps the only thing qualifying me
for even a remote bleacher seat in Heaven
is the early morning verse tumbling
from my heart into my fingers, and finally
onto the blank page before my eyes.
Poetry in and of itself can't save us, but
can you imagine life without poetry?
Spread the Wings of Your Love
By Don Iannone

The sky is the limit
in terms of your love.
Reach high, and wide
in your quest to love the world
and everybody in it.
Contrary to what you might think,
and at times even feel,
our love is endless, and abundant
beyond what our minds can grasp.
After all, love is a quality of heart,
and as such, is felt, not thought.
Spread your love,
like the wings of a glorious
full-blossom butterfly.
And while you're at it,
be open to other's love.
It's there for the picking,
like fresh juicy strawberries
awaiting your sweet embrace.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Signs of an Early Spring
By Don Iannone

Sunset lingering brunt orange
in steadfast February clouds, hovering
in azure sky, poised
to receive nothing less
than an early spring, quieted
by the lack of opposition from
a fast-moving winter, trundling
toward April, when
early wildflowers sing, and dance
their way through winter's final remains.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Is Your Work Worth It?
By Don Iannone

Work is not all it is cracked up to be.
It's filled with great pain and suffering
that is killing off people's joy and sense of meaning,
and it is killing off people;
causing them to die of work-related stress and strain.
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?"
A Biblical thought worth embracing.
We've missed the mark...badly,
when it comes to the role of work in our lives.
If your heart is so heavy
that you can't rejoice at the sunrise,
and your mind is lethally poisoned
at the thought of the work you do,
then it is time...
Time to let go of your work,
and the pain you attach to it,
and the pain it attachs to you.
Your work will not get you into heaven,
whatever you think heaven might be.
Don't allow yourself to be used by others,
in the name of work, job or career.
Don't enslave yourself to your work desires.
There is no end to that treadmill,
and it leads no where.
Be careful what you say yes to today.
If your work doesn't please your spirit,
say no to it.
Look carefully at who is ultimately served
by whatever work you do.
Is it the stockholders of the company,
who care nothing about you,
except whether they make $100,000
for every dollar you earn?
Is it the ego-maniac shift supervisor,
who was abused as a child, and
believes he is entitled to strip you
of your dignity and sense of well-being?
Who is served by your work?
Maybe it's your own maniacal ego
that persists in clinging to its illusions
that your work is you.
Honor yourself today
by seeing your energy and attention
as supremely sacred.
Be cautious where and how
you invest that energy in your work.
Put an end to your own slavery.
Only you can set yourself free.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bad Accident on the Interstate
By Don Iannone

Traffic had nearly come to a standstill.
You just knew...
there was a major problem ahead.
It wasn't long before there were
red and blue lights flashing everywhere.
I studied the streak of eerie blue light
making its way across my left hand and arm
propped against the arm rest.
Ten minutes later
we knew exactly what the problem was--
an accident, and a big one at that.
The red flares directed us
to the right berm of the road.
All four lanes were closed by this one--
two trucks, a van, and a car...
all tied up in a knot.
It was a hideous sight, but
the worst part was to come:
the bodies on stretchers;
especially the black man writhing in pain,
while three technicians try to steady him.
It's amazing how much you can observe
in a 30-second drive-by of a truly ugly accident scene.
The images of the horrid scene lingered in my mind
nearly half way to Detroit.
On a frigid, sub-zero morning such as this,
salt doesn't do much to counteract the icy roadway.
I slowed down for the next two hours,
and just accepted that I was going to be late
for my first meeting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Finding Poetry on a Bitter Cold February Day
By Don Iannone

Bitter cold February wind
bites hard at my near numb cheeks
with its tiny razor-sharp teeth,
as I crunch down the driveway
to dig loose the now meaningless morning paper
from the crusty deep-drifted snow.
Fluffed up morning doves huddle
and peck slow motion
for half-buried seed under the icicled feeder.
Angry winds gather and howl
through the skeleton-like tree limbs.
Lonely songs they sing
about broken unfulfilled dreams
from somewhere long ago.
At twenty below, even the piercing bright sun
fails to permeate the artic air
that hovers thick like death.
For an instant, my mind warms
at the fleeting thought of spring
and fresh-born wildflowers.
But that too is snatched away
by the stinging wind,
that pours bitterness
on misplaced stillborn tears.
Trudging back to the house,
I resolve to build an even larger fire,
and sit in quiet reflection,
until a poem comes to me.
I feel one beginning to thaw.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sundays Long Ago
By Don Iannone

Growing up,
Sunday was clearly a day of rest,
when work was completely set aside,
and the spirit was given primacy.
The day started
with Sunday morning church services
and Sunday school.
Our main meal of the day
was in the early afternoon,
leaving room for a leisurely afternoon,
and then Sunday night church services--
at tops a one-hour event,
when the heart was invited to speak
and explore more personally
its relationship to the Holy.
Social gatherings often followed
Sunday night church services,
allowing those sharing worship
to join hands in friendship.
All this was a long time ago--
lost in the shuffle from childhood
to young adulthood.
Spirit joined our family,
both nuclear and extended.
Not always did I agree
with our Bible-thumping minister;
let alone how Mom and Dad chose
to adapt and apply these teachings
to the conduct of the household.
Too strict, I thought,
as a young hellion,
sowing my seeds in long-gone Martins Ferry.
Looking back,
there was more good than bad
to the rhythm and portent
of Sundays in my younger years.
I'm surprised to hear myself say this, but
there comes a time in your life
when equanimity truimphs over differences,
large and small,
that cause civil war within us.
And so,
looking back,
I smile upon the Sundays in my early life,
and give thanks for their rich blessings,
lingering on inside me even now.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Transported from the Other Side
By Don Iannone

From the other side...
the place where dreams start
as newborn rivers flowing through you,
another reminder is given:
be the mystic that you are.
From the other side...
where emptiness swallows all form,
and where from nothing all somethings arise,
a dream so real unfurls,
like a mythical flag,
waving in the breath of my soul.
A dream so real
I couldn't possibly have made it up.
A dream of how I am...
moving from a secret undercover world
to a transcendental world of spiritual light,
where all secrets and shadows disappear,
and where that which contains finds ending,
and that which is genesis finds new beginning.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Second Hand
By Don Iannone

My wristwatch,
probably like yours,
has a second hand.
It goes round and round
the face of time,
cutting through nothingness,
creating and destroying the moments
with each clockwise tick.
I bill by the hour,
but live breath to breath,
like the second hand of my watch.

We worry too much about time.
It robs us of living...
downright cheats us out of life
that moves not only clockwise,
but in all directions simultaneously.
Your soul is timeless...
it knows nothing of your watch's second hand.
Your soul is laughing at your obsession with time,
and what you miss between ticks
of your watch's second hand.
The Aetnaville Limestone Cave
By Don Iannone

For some reason today,
I remembered the old limestone cave
we used to explore,
as growing young boys in Martins Ferry.
The cave, located in Aetnaville,
just south of Martins Ferry,
was very much a hidden mystery,
known only to the true initiates
of the sacred geometry of Eastern Ohio,
or those taking the time to trapse
the area's ancient woodland landscape in detail.
While a long time ago in years,
the Aetnaville cave and our adventures
are never more than a thought away
at given moment.
Give them a thought, and there they are,
and there you are.
Sensing the cave could swallow us up
in any loose-footed moment,
even as boys we took precautions
to ensure we could safely exit
what we had in the first place entered.
Wet and cold,
the cave was not conducive to candles,
or the homemade kerosene torches
we used for light in other caves.
We were entirely dependent upon
our trusty ever-ready battery flashlights
to light our cautious footsteps
into the earth's deep limestone belly.
To ensure we found our way out,
we tied together four balls of sturdy string,
each the length of a football field.
Twelve hundred feet into the earth was deep
for three eleven year-old boys,
who lived about the same distance
from the Elm School,
where they spent days
from early September to early June.
To this day, I vividly recall
the damp sweet smell
of the Aetnaville limestone cave.
And to this day,
I equate the twelve hundred feet
into the foreboding cave,
as roughly the same distance
I must travel inward
to reach the cave of my heart.
Isn't it funny how
all inward journeys feel the same?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Poet's Pain
By Don Iannone

I wonder seriously
if I'd have my poetry
if I didn't have my pain.
You may smile smugly, thinking perhaps
you know my pain.
Rest assured, you don't, and
frankly, there's no need for you
to know my pain.
After all, it's mine, and
you have your own pain--
giving rise to your poetry, maddening dreams,
insufferable prognostications, fits of sexual hallucination,
or even drunken spells leaving you numb.
Yes, poets suffer...
not first with their poetry, but with life.
And those reading poetry suffer too...
not with the poetry they read, but also with life.
I think of Oscar Wilde, who once said:
We are all in the gutter,
but some of us are looking at the stars.
Wilde's point isn't that misery loves company, rather
some of us are more able to use our misery
to see life awhole, including its pain.
For some of us, poetry is our weapon of choice
in seeing the reality of pain,
without the rose-colored glasses.
Friends' Blogs