It’s afternoon, last day of school,
I’m cooling off in my pool, rough life,
Living in a lizard habitat:

We come face to face, eye level,
Him green as the table he’s perched on,
Me, curious, having taken pause in the little oasis that is our backyard,

Home to lizards of many species to me unknown, snakes mostly friendly, ‘possums, squirrels, feral cats and cardinals, jays, kestrels and a hawk or two,

Me left wondering as he wandered off
with more of a plan than i had in that moment or for the rest of that day:
His orange throatiness a threat, or perhaps he’d found love?

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, May 31, 2017


The torn seats, the rusted out bed,
I was on board for the ride
To the office with my Ben Ben
To be included in a talk with men,
Hushed stories, jokes, then laughter,
What was i in for?
Oh, I’m so ready to be one of them.

When upon our arrival, to my disappointment, Ben Ben said:
Wait in the truck son
And after i’m done,
We’ll make another run to the corner drug
For a c’cola float
(A consolation prize for a boy
Not yet ready to be one of the men).

Then curiosity got the best of me
And i left the safety of the torn front seat,
Springs popping out all sides
To enter the office and the gathering of men
As Yellow light snuck out of dusty shades and
Wood paneling whispered storied tales
And men gathered in a circle talking
Smoking puffing

While i listened in unnoticed tucked away in a dark corner of the room
Trying my best to understand the discussions
Of men
Until, and when, my burdened
Respiratory system succumbed to the weakness of my genes
And i pushed out the door hocking and tearing and coughing and choking,
A Red eyed snot nosed mess and learned
I wasn’t quite ready to be one of the men.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, May, 2017.

A Stirring (On Reading Mary Oliver)

I can only read her in small doses of light
Because when i do she stirs up, she stirs,
Her words penetrate the muscles between my chest,
My pectorals squeeze, my solar plexus caves
Into my diaphragm, landing somewhere, Leaving me gasping for air, like a soft punch in the gut one feels days after the knuckles have left, leaving a bruise on the soul, or uncovering one already there?

Penetrating with a surgeon’s precision
Cutting, opening, revealing
The deep of soul where feelings feel,
Where pain persists, where joy resides,
Where secret rivers seek to roll through ducts of tearless eyes, so dry,
A turbulence of wind through the windows of inebriation sans alcool,
A stirring to write,
A stirring moved.

Handcrafted poetry reflection while reading American Primitive by Mary Oliver, April, 2017


Sad and worried,
Sitting by the pool with Irish verses twixt fingers of hand,
A solitude so longed for, thus obtained.

Sad and worried,
Cigar in hand while a Belgian ale laces her proper glass,
A wedding dress, a Bride unveiled,

Light bounces,
Hope sustains,
Surface bubbles saunter

Like a Prince’s love waiting; and a
Caged bird sings:
Sad and worried.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, May, 2017



The nouveau leaves of trees brushing against each other like the long grey tails of coats of unknown people,
On East 42nd,
On a cold, bustling Monday morning in Manhattan,
Rushing to get to where they’ve got to get to,
Before the getting’s gone,

Memories wrestled out on a Sunday afternoon
By dancing, bouncing patterns of light on closed eyelids,
Bliss of golden yellows reminiscent of a kiss, held in a painting hanging somewhere, between The Neue and a museum in Vienna,

Now and again breaking between the pages of a book,
Aloft in a dreamy state of being,
A Soul drifting in the space between:
remembering and forgetting
and want of escape,
On the wings of a jet plane powered only
by the lambent lust that remains of this golden afternoon.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, May, 2017

Thoughts On: Reading Berryman

Connecticut shade wrapper stained
fingers wrapped around a pen
He was off and writing again
Reading Berryman’s dark Dream Songs
Sitting in the bright May sun

Ripples of truth sought on a watery bed
Of melted, azure glacial ice
And a fresh mix of
Yellow blood spilt on the pool deck

Seeking an aphorism
Amongst crushed crustaceans
Higher thought of deeper meaning understood
Rebirth of Renaissance
Reborn at midlife
And moving: On

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, May, 2017.



I heard them for only a few moments in the oaks outside the window,
A few chirrup chirrups far from the familiar machine-line cadence of last summer,
The army of tymbals just getting its troops together for shady, singing marches through the long hot months to come,

To perform their rhythmic, ancient dances in the trees each afternoon and into twilight,
But, it was only early April and then they were silent, until May Day when I heard them again, this time louder and more sure of themselves,

And on that day, later, came the thunder-less rain shower predilections of the endless, unrelenting, unforgiving, sweat of summer,
A metaphor for something hemming
Or a reason to celebrate?

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, May 1, 2017