I held her close
Swearing I would never let go.
She took flight
In a momentary lapse.
She soared through the clouds,
Wings beating back resistance.
I longed for her return,
Coaxing where I may.
Yet, I relented in the end
For she is more beautiful
Soaring above the world
Than she ever was in mine.

–S.M. Wilkinson


Love In Ten Lines

Timid love, hiding within.
Oh, my dreadful love
Chasing love through halls.
Save me, terrible love
Conquering love at night.
Weaken me, forbidden love
Screaming love from rooftops.
Silence me, wicked love;
Passionate love on display.
Release me, hateful love.

–S.M. Wilkinson

I was scrolling a few evenings ago when I stumbled upon an interesting challenge posted by taehreh; write a poem about love in ten lines.  She wrote a beautiful poem, which you can read here.  I nearly forgot, but realizing that it is National Poetry Month jogged my memory. I took a bit of a different approach when writing this one.  I do hope you enjoy it.

I nominate anyone who has taken their time to read my poem to write one as well.  Leave a link in the comments.  Now, what we all love and loathe, the rules:

– Write about love using only 10 lines.
– Use the word love in every line.
– Each line can only be 4 words long.
– Title the post, Love in Ten Lines
– Include a quote about love ( this can be your own).
– You may write in any language.
– Nominate 10 or more who are up for the challenge.
– Let them know about the challenge.



I’m writing you from a train rolling through the countryside in Northern Italy. I’ve just spent the last two days in Rome, and found myself sad when leaving the historic city this morning. It felt like you were getting an in-person history lesson each time you walked out of a door or turned a corner. I even noted to my lady this morning that while people were gawking at the usual tourist sites, all you had to do was turn around and there was a lesser-known artifact staring right at you. It was absolutely surreal to be in that city. I don’t know that my senses enjoyed so much stimulation and jubilation since I was last in New Orleans. There’s just something about it that makes me automatically want to return. The sites, much like every other tourist, are up on my Instagram; so, feel free to pop on over to take a gander at them.

This afternoon presented a different challenge and adventure of sorts. My lady, her son, and I were returning to Bologna from Rome to retrieve my rental car and then move over to Venice -probably my last big European trip while living here- for a night. We were expecting that the train would arrive at our destination approximately 5-7 minutes late; so, I went ahead and tried to take a little nap before we got off. Well, when we got off the train, it dawned on me that I’d left my hat on the train. Now… listen… it’s not that this hat is special to me. I’ve actually got a hat exactly like it (my Observer Coach Trainer hat from when I was a member of the Vampire Field Artillery Team) with my call sign (Vampire 11D) embroidered on the back. That hat has become my display hat, but if I’m honest, I have to say that I still enjoy wearing the hat. Now, it’s not something that I would normally go out of my way to retrieve, but if there’s a reasonable chance to get my hat…. why not?

As it turns out on this very afternoon, there was NOT a reasonable amount of time to retrieve my hat. So, while my girlfriend and her son stood on the platform of the Bologna Centrale train station, the doors to the train shut -as they do one minute before departure. I’ve used transit in Paris, as well as Bavaria, and I can tell you that there’s usually still the opportunity to jump off of the train. This is not the case on the bullet train. While her son pressed the button on the outside, I pushed it repeatedly on the inside, and then the train began moving. It felt like any other old movie with trains, but for some reason, Young Frankenstein came to mind. The train started moving, and I was helplessly along for the ride.

Luckily, the train conductor had a good sense of humor about it. In his best English, he told me, “Next time maybe you be more faster.” My lady had the keys to the car; so, they weren’t stranded in Bologna waiting for me to make some grande return. This gave me solace and I was able to laugh it off. So, off to Milan I zoomed on the bullet train, ears popping each time we entered and exited the tunnels, and she and her son took the car to Venice to get us checked in to our next hotel.

This is where I join you on this beautiful, Italian Sunday afternoon, about an hour and a half from arriving in Venezia Santa Lucia. The trip from Milan to Venice -thus far- has appeared much more industrial than our foray through Florance and Tuscany as we moved from Rome to Bologna, but the countryside is beautiful, nonetheless. It’s good to have a sense of humor in these instances. It’s not necessarily in my nature to be so calm when things go wrong, but for some reason -perhaps it’s my lady’s influence, or it could just be how beautiful I find Italy and how drawn I am to it- I find myself joyfully sitting back and enjoying this unexpected little detour.

No, I didn’t get a chance to explore Milan in the process… there wasn’t that much time between getting off and jumping back on the train to head in the right the direction. But I found humor in the process, and managed to sit back with a beer and a small bottle of wine to enjoy the detour.

I hope everyone else has a fantastic weekend, and if there’s one thing I’m learning -finally…. in my 37th year of life- it’s that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.


As a side note, the young gentlemen sitting catty-corner to me -social distancing rules in effect in Italy, of course- is actually reading and making annotations in the Italian newspaper he is reading. I find his behavior quite interesting. I couldn’t understand his conversation on our departure from the train station, but if he isn’t already making his way in the world, I’d guess by first appearances that he is going to make something of himself in the future.

I do make a second note that he and the young Italian lady sitting on my left -catty-corner, as well, but across the aisle- continue to make eye contact and smiling. I don’t think that they know each other, based on the fact that they got on the train at separate times, but I can’t help but noticing that even young attraction has its place in this world.

Full Tilt

Tilt for the tilt
In hopes of the tilt
The clang and clattering
Of money in the tin
Sounding success
For the masses to hear

Silence prevails
Against the backdrop of noise
Emotionless digital sound
Thrown out in a room of timelessness
Blinking lights and nostalgia
Rooted in despair

The tilt wins
Clouding the loss
In gulps of defeat
Erasing the memory
And prepping the soul
For one more, last, final pull


D-Day +76 Years

It’s another ambiguous day in the annals of American and military history. Troops and veterans across all branches of the military will stand united to remember the D-Day Landings on Normandy beaches 76 years.

Like most days, I struggle with how to remember this day. Sure, we played a part in freeing the Jewish people in Europe from a very systematic genocide. Yes, we freed western Europe from the grips of facism (the nationalist combination of socialism and corporatism). None of this is disputable, nor should it be. A lot of evil was eradicated from the world by these events. However, we became bedmates with Communism to accomplish this mission. We teamed up with a dictator who had far reaped far more disastrous events upon his people and political opponents. By holding hands with Communism to kill Nazism, we helped not only armed it against its own people, we facilitated the spread across eastern Europe and into Asia. For this, we are as much to blame as we are in our drive to rid Europe of Nazism. Sure, people say that the Red Army really beat the Nazis by taking Berlin where Hitler was holed up before suiciding. However, that simplistic argument doesn’t acknowledge that without US intervention by providing tanks and steel to the Soviets, such a drive from Russia into Germany wouldn’t have been possible.

Last year, on the 75th anniversary, I had the privilege to accompany some battle buddies from the Mustang team as they set out to accomplish a ruck from Omaha Beach to Point Du Hoc. Before they took off, a veteran from the Omaha Beach landing was gave a quick speech to everyone. It was a chance meeting, but it worked out in their -and my- favor because we got to hear him.

I haven’t transcribed everything from the video -and the wind makes it hard for me to catch what he said word for word. What I do know is that he did not speak of American exceptionalism. He didn’t speak of American greatness, America’s role in winning or the like. This man, who lost more friends than I can fathom on that bloody morning, spoke of love. Those were his parting words. “Learn to love one another!” Imagine this man, if you can, from a generation so far removed from the progress we’ve made in race relations, our treatment of women, and allowing people to freely express their sexuality… and this is his message. This man’s message was that we need to love each other.

So, here I sit in the year 2020, 76 years after the D-Day landings, on the patio of a Bavarian house, some 100+ kilometers from Munich, where Nazism garnered its foothold in the German populace, trying to reminisce on the events of last summer and the role of America in World War II, and I still don’t know what to feel or what to express.

I suppose it should be exactly what that amazing veteran said last year -Love each other! Our own country now sits within the grips of civil unrest as people protest racism, police brutality, and authoritarianism. It’s time that we put our hands together and love each other. If we don’t, the only color anyone will see will be the red as it flows through the streets and into the ground. Most of the Germans I know today hang their heads in shame at the events in leading up to and during World War II by the political leadership of the times. I don’t blame them. They’re not to blame. They were barely thoughts at the time. But for us living today, we need to take a good hard look around and ask ourselves if anything we have done has made the world better? Have we really loved each other? It’s high time that we did.


Bookmark’d (1st Revision)

I smile at what was,
And cry for what could have been.
Lifes little choices
Ripple the waters of discontent.
I have felt true love,
The That blinding passion
That Which comes only once in a lifetime.
Oh, how I’ve chased that dragon,
But always found it wanting.
As Memories of you choke my sanity-

Fucking Sex in the roommate’s car
And breaking a hotel bed;
Holding hands into the sunset
And lying on the beach,
Our bodies linked perfectly together;
My head resting on a log,
Never wanting to let go,
But I let go…
All those years ago…
I fucking let go.

Now I choke on your tears,
those the tears shed when I panicked
And ran from you to die in war.
Headfirst, I went into the flames-
Full steam and ravaged by fear-
Die, I did, but only in my the mind
And not even completely,
For the memories remain
Like lucid dreams.
I see you everywhere.

I mourn for that which I ran from.
My body toils on
As the sour agony of my heart
Replays the sweetness of your tongue.
Farewell, my love.
There’s still so much to explain-
So much to tell,
But what for?
It serves only me now.
‘Tis right I suffer.

This chapter in your book finishes;
A transition is marked in sweat and cum,
And laughter and hugs,
And then silence.
But I can’t let go…
Not yet- 
Not from something so true.
So, I back into the wood line
And sit on the tailgate.
I slide With a bookmark snug in against the last page,
And I start from the beginning.


A Wish to Prolong Butterfly Kisses

I dove into your brown eyes
If only for the last time
And kissed your sweet lips
As if they were as always mine

I suffer the burning eyes
Of tears I’ll not release
As recompense for those
I created all those years ago

I wander searching for Acontius
He’s no coin for me in Delos
A penny from my pocket
Sinks in Hegbachsee

I wish upon your brown eyes
That there never is a last time
That there never was a last time
That the story doesn’t end here


A Trip to Hell – Auschwitz

I took a roadtrip east. One of my stops was in in Oświęcim, Poland. This book, The Auschwitz Poems, was in the bookstore at the original Auschwitz concentration camp. I knew I had to buy and read it after the first poem I opened to. I did not get there early enough to enter Auschwitz I, but a few minute drive got me to Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

It was surreal. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to finish processing what I saw, but I know that it’ll never be complete without delving into the human side of it… the heart of it… from the pain expressed as much as possible through the pen.

That first poem I read is below. Broniewski’s wife, Maria, was a prisoner in Auschwitz. Her death is listed as 1947 in an article about the poet, which tells me she, at a minimum, survived the extermination camp long enough to be liberated.

By Wladyslaw Broniewski

I want to breathe Warsaw air
In that air is my wife
Released with a smoke in the wind
Air – is her

There is a town called Auschwitz
A crematorium was there
And now it is saintly and holy
Soaring from there above history

How can I manage? What can I do?
Moan and leave
Behind me vessels with ashes
Behind me graves
And long gone youth

(15 I 1949)