December 31, 2010


By John R. Greenwood
Life unwrapped 
Life unwound
Look inside
Look around
*Poem to end 2010

December 30, 2010

Unnecessary Roughness

Unnecessary Roughness
By John R. Greenwood
Calculated pain
Hearts held for ransom
The scope of hurt 
Can not be measured

Foggy reasons
Cloud recovery
Mixed messages
To and From

What does it take
With no mirror in sight
Fast turning pages
Clenched in an unyielding fist

On a dead-end street
Stands a ‘No Outlet’ sign
Hurt piles up
No where to turn around
This was written as an observation of daily life around us. We all need to go back and read the directions more carefully... 

December 17, 2010


By John R. Greenwood

No fight remains
Flag of white up high
Sickness overcomes
An unarmed man
A week-long battle
Throat-devil won


December 10, 2010


By John R. Greenwood

Tangled in life
We weave a twisted path
One day hanging by a thread
The next
Dreaming in midair
Freedom and flight
Hindered by strings held by others
Work and play twisted tight together
No room for error
Sky-blue hopes just inches away


December 08, 2010

Invisible Child

Invisible Child
By John R. Greenwood

Dear child,
If you missed the
Chance to swing your feet
Sit right down and take a seat
I’ll start you off and push you high
Point those toes up to the sky
Leave your troubles on the ground
Dream your dreams
Do it now
Like a moon and a jumping cow
Invisible child has now been found


December 04, 2010



By John R. Greenwood

Background tick of a nightstand clock

barely heard in silence roar

Body-aches seem louder now

when given preference above the sound

Creaks and groans deep within the home

mimic stomach growls and snapping bones

I must decide if music comes

or does this silence

serve the same?


November 26, 2010

Awaken Shaken

Awaken Shaken

By John R. Greenwood

Swallowing hard, pains like a pine-branch

caught halfway down

Sweaty shivers and throbbing temples bring back

memories of school days missed long ago

Peeled back blankets reveal hesitant bodies and

wobbly legs whimpering to return

Ice filled ginger-ale glass soothes a

crusty fire-coated throat

Returning to bed I curl up and burrow deep like a

winter-ready black bear


October 28, 2010

Look Up

Look Up

By John R. Greenwood

I wrote this poem minutes after my

pre-coffee hunting trip

in search of the elusive newspaper.

I pause for a moment and look up.

Autumn sky

Moonlit and quiet

Star-speckled and fresh

Injected with train sounds

Chugging strong in the distance

Cars pass slowly

Their lights spraying

Naked maples and

Scant oaks with

Left over leaves

Desperately clinging on

The smell of fall

Falling away with

Winter whispering

In the hills

Not so far away

I stop and stare

Neck tilted back

Like an old-man Pez dispenser

I soak it in

Lung, sight, and mind

Take the time

To look up


October 21, 2010

Porch Pieces

Porch Peace

By John R.Greenwood

Each porch step up

A story to tell

Of lives and loves from

The world that surrounds

Friends stop by and whisper

Did you know? Did you hear?

Porch simple moments

Unchanged through the years

The neighbor's new Chevy

A lost wallet is found

An upcoming wedding

The old barn that burned down

Boys perched on railings

Swinging their feet

Dad hikes up his work pants

That droop in the heat

On the paint worn top step

Giggling girls squished together

As if joined at the hip

Like birds of a feather

Women in blue dresses

Red petunias in clay pots

Babies in playpens

Sleeping or not

Visions of porches

Today or yet to be

Provide a little haven

That's safe for you and me

I wrote this poem for "Porch Pieces" - Artist Bryony Graham's living sculpture.



By John R. Greenwood
Blue and high
Waving leaf
Golden sky

Autumn song
Swaying tree
Upright brother to
A standing sea

Quiet silence
Fills the air
Heart and mind
I stop and stare


September 18, 2010

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth
By John R. Greenwood

Beneath the waters magic surface age has no meaning
Bobbing heads with equal smiles and water filled ears play with childlike hearts

As legs and feet swirl and churn in their refreshing dance below
Decades soften and float away

Grandmother and grandchild drift together playfully
A snapshot of time held so dear

This is a photo of my sister and her grandson

August 29, 2010

Generation Contemplation

By John R. Greenwood

Reunion of well-grown children grey, stiff and smiling still, all with visions and voices hovering slightly beneath the surface. All wishing you could recreate the youthful joy that slipped by while you looked away, but for a minute. Hold it close. Hug it tight to your heart. Rest it softly on your shoulder. Close your eyes tight and see it clearly. Apron draped grandmother, deep-whiskered grandpa, consoling mom, protective father, gentle aunt, red-haired cousin, all circled close under smiling skies of cloud and blue. Families drawn together, decades faded between. Tiny diapered cherubs play happily not knowing they are next in line. Next in line to skip past memories and miles, unaware of the hours as they rush by, quickly, oh so quickly.

This piece was assembled a few hours after returning home from a small but significant family gathering of Joseph and Johanna Kubish family descendants. The reunion was hosted by my cousin Nancy Cahill at her warm and inviting home in Argyle N.Y. The photo above is of my cousin Pam and a cherub with a battery in need of recharging.


August 18, 2010

Golf Balls

Golf Balls
By John R Greenwood
The year was 1970, it was a Saturday night, add six teenage boys, trouble is brewing…
It was a great job for teenage boys; inserting glossy supermarket supplements into the Sunday edition of the Saratogian newspaper. Inserting was not only a paycheck, it was also an excuse to get out of the house every Saturday night and not have to account for your whereabouts until 7:00 am Sunday morning. Every weekend we had a perfect built-in excuse and we drew a paycheck too. Brilliant!

There is a book full of stories attached to those Saturday nights, but one story stands out above the rest.

As young boys are prone to do, we were always looking for that next adventure. The newest of them was a sport for the wealthy; golf. We were not wealthy teenagers, nor were we teenagers with wealthy relatives. After all, we were inserting newspapers for a living. To play this sport called golf we would sneak onto the local Saratoga Spa “Par 29” course. If we timed it right, we could slink on after closing and squeeze in nine holes before dark.

Sharing one set of old warped clubs was a given, but we needed a steady supply of golf balls. Golf balls were expensive. Why should we buy them when there was a murky-bottomed water hazard coated with golf balls just waiting to be harvested?

So after spending the night filling the newspaper with ads of low-price promises, we began our quest for free golf balls. More golf balls than six teenage boys could ever hope to use on a Par 29 course in a lifetime. We all had swimsuits under our Levis that night. The rest is, as they say, history.

At 4:00 am, when all the papers had been inserted, bundled, and delivered, we headed for the golf course. We parked the car in an empty restaurant parking lot near the golf course. Everything was going like clockwork. There we were, six teenage boys, with our Levis pulled down around our ankles, when it all went awry.

Entering that very same parking lot was a local, (black & white) with two sleepy eyed third shift police officers on the tail end of their Sunday morning patrol. The next thing you know there was a spotlight streaming in the foggy windows of that light blue Plymouth Duster. I am quite certain those two city patrolmen never expected to see six partially clothed teenagers crouched over, quivering in fear. “What the hell are you boys doing?” are heart-stopping words no teenage boy ever wants to hear. Especially, when he’s in a compact car packed with five of his friends, and he has his Levi’s wrapped around his ankles.

To this day, I am unsure of how we wrangled our way out of that teenage boy nightmare. Was it because the policemen couldn’t stop laughing long enough to write a report? Did they recognize that in about thirty seconds they would be witness to six teen boys crying like four year-olds who just lost their mother in the mall? Or, did they simply remember being that age once?
Whatever the reason was, I was very glad we didn’t have to explain it to our parents on that scary Sunday morning.

Teenage boys have short memories and more guts than brains. Two weeks later we not only collected four galvanized pails full of muddy golf balls, we also had a shiny new red and black golf ball washer hidden in the back corner of the yard.

There are warm, fresh baked cookie memories and then there are truly precious teenage boy memories.

August 14, 2010

Out to Pasture

Out to Pasture
By John R. Greenwood

With head held high
On a back road dusty
He came to rest
Tired and rusty

They parked him in a pasture
Stripped the plates for DMV
Patted his hood for old-time sake
Then took away his key

An old Chevy dump truck
Like a ship adrift at sea
Gave it all he had to give
Then winked an eye at me


My submission for Poets United Poetry Pantry #68

August 01, 2010

Camp Sights

Camp Sights

By John R. Greenwood

Rock-bumpy camp roads

Rain washed and rutted

Lead to pine-needle foyers

Pitchy and smooth

Aluminum camp pots

Clink and clatter

Sizzling bacon crowds

Old cast-iron skillet

Cold cement-floor bathhouse

Amplifies early morning echoes of

Child’s playful excitement

Handed down fishing poles

Lean slightly bent

Crusted old nightcrawler

Days long forgotten

Sunny days and boat rides

Cranky babies in hats

Inner tube piles and

Sand scattered beach blankets

Night campfire crackles

Melting into pools of

Wavy hot embers

Both yellow and orange

Sweet smokey scent

Wispy white ashes

Snowing in reverse

Rise to star filled skies

As if returning home

Written for Stewart's Pond Campsite about Stewart's Pond Campsite.

The photograph was taken by my dear sister and camp owner Joanne Byron


July 31, 2010

Times Sure Have Changed

Times Sure Have Changed

By John R. Greenwood

I have used this little story to get a laugh many times in the past. I tell it to balance out another parent’s story of frustration and terror raising and/or dealing with a teenager living under his or her roof. Times change, the majority of the time we complain because it is always for the worse. We are never happy. We ask for economic growth and larger tax bases then we proclaim vehemently how much we hate overcrowding and development.

This story fits in there somewhere but on a much lighter scale. It has to do with a teenage son asking his panic-stricken parents for permission to get his ear pierced. This happened several years ago yet the scenario is a vivid memory I enjoy reliving. He was serious, straightforward, and amazingly professional with his request. “I would like to get my ear pierced?” He was not telling as most teens might do. He was in the process of selling a product; “Himself”. Well, we had always been very open with our two sons and we respected the way he handled the well-scripted sales pitch. First, we wanted a chance to analyze the consequence of our decision. We struck a deal, parent to child, a written contract was not necessary. Teenagers can remember letter by letter any agreement you make as long as the outcome benefits them. If it is the other way around, all bets are off. The life-altering contract read as follows, “Wait three months, if at that time you still want your ear pierced we will personally take you to a reputable business to have it done.” hoping beyond hope that this was just another fleeting teen phase. Three months to the day and there he is, car keys in hand, “Let’s go!”

Score: Teenager (1) Parents (0).

Well, to neatly tie up the end of this story I have to finish with a, “Times sure have changed” adage. I took my then 14yr old son out to the mall for his first and I believe his last piercing. I did it with pride and no prejudice. I was proud of how he handled the request and never once questioned whether, we as parents, would hold up our end of the bargain. In teenager rearing terms, “That’s Huge!” We entered the mall father and son, side by side, a new-age rite of passage. We walked out of the mall each with a newfound respect for each other based on keeping one’s word and having the integrity to follow through with an uncomfortable outcome.

Well as any proud father will do when his son reaches another milestone in his life; I called my father to break the news about his ear pierced grandson. “Dad, do you remember the day you bought me my first BB gun? Have I got a story for you!”