‪Her igneous eyes pierced his soul with a gaping ‬
‪Longing for the fire once felt between her legs‬
For they were once long ago rapt
In the heat of each others company
Such that everything their senses touched together
Caught flame
and turned to
Ashes of memory

Now his soul floats along the Rue des Vie
Like a crustaceous little crab
Who’s lost his way
Down the Champs-Élysées
Without an Arc de Triomphe
In his future
Or a new love to behold

For her memory towers over him like the Eiffel
Inflated beyond measure
To unapproachable heights
Making les Jardin du Luxembourg feel like a willowwacks
Staring at blank faces as if they were empty letters without words postmarked from some sort of

His words and thoughts now jumbled
Once an artist of the spoken word
His creations reduced to the crambos
Of illiteracy
Her memory a myrmidon
His soul bent to its knees
In crushing obedience to the
Power it struck
A gong in the moonless night

Until (and when) (and then)

He posted a declaration of his love
Like some sort of bohemian flackery
On the Pont des Arts
The predawn snow and ice of the wooden bridge crepitating under his feet
As he raised the hammer
To beat the nail
Into the tiny parchment
And closed the coffin on her memory.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, January, 2017, Paris, FR


Homeless Benediction

Thoughts sharp like the talons of the rare red-shouldered hawk
Having dropped the remains of lunch,
Bones and the little bit left of flesh of the small rodent crunched
On the hot pavement below
Like a frying pan receiving the crushed, brown shells of an egg
Mixed with white and yolk,
A messy mix,
Grey clouds opened like the curtains of a one act play
To the thunderous applause of cicada,
Rain drops absorbing the stored up energy of the day
and turning into the steam that will carry away her prayers and
her fading hopes
for a different tomorrow.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, August 23, 2016, Orlando, FL

I Step Away

On the corner of S. Clinton and Iowa Avenue

I see a poor black beggar man,

I step away.


I see pigeons suddenly a flight

Shedding their morning meal in intestinal relief,

I step away.


I see a dozen or more young Muslim girls

Of multi-races in hijabs,

I step away.


On the university lawn that night

I watch two gay lovers affectionately embrace,

I step away.


On an alley outer stairway

I see a skinny teen cooking up his morning dose,

I step away.


Upon returning to my hotel room

I see myself more clearly in the mirror,

I step away.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, July 2016

I spent a weekend this summer in Iowa City at a University of Iowa Summer Writers Workshop, “Drift and Dream: The Writer as Urban Walker” with Kathleen Rooney.  I spent a lot of time in solo drifting through the city, writing down my reactions as they occurred and polishing some new practices.  This poem was one of the writing assignments we did in class.  Thank you for reading! 🙂



Unstuck in O’Hare

The flow
Of people
The flow
Of people

Like migrating flocks of geese
Making the best of current conditions to
Get to more temperate climes
Streaming through terminals
The structure of systems so designed to
Move us

I’m moved by this today
Unstuck on layover in O’Hare

So I jumped purposelessly yet mindfully into this flow of people
Moving through the terminals
Sauntering, Flowing, Drifting
Asking myself what Baudelaire would do,
Stopping for a moment where I could find a more generous stream of cooler air

Caffeine, allergy meds, Multi-Vitamins and a fizzing lil’ Airborne tab
My drugs of choice so far today
My neurons soaking up all the feel good
dopamine feel goods streaming through my synapses as I jump into

The flow
Of people
The flow
Of people

Text received from United with update
More delay applied to delay,
Andalat, Andalat,
Me decidedly unmoved in this moment
Consciously confident in my approach to leaning on a poll by Gate 1 of Terminal B
Looking quite the casual flaneur

Ahhhh….Starbucks Coldbrew quickly doin’ its work
As if I needed it
So energized by
The flow
Of People
The flow
Of people

The flow
More like a river
Than the traffic at home on I-4
City Beautiful
Or no
Stop and Go
Stop and Go
Beep Beep, move outta the way, ASSHOLE, desculpeme, merci,
Parle vous, Jeez ma’m, Come onnnn, con permiso, habla espanol
So sweet to move with them
With no gate to get to
Anytime soon.

The flow, yeah, it’s
Like traffic
Speeding up then slowing down
Stop and Go
People exiting aircraft
Racing to connecting flights

The metallic hummmm of people movers manned by empty faces
Wheelchairs, baby carriages, carry-ons on wheels,
Pilots and flight attendants uniformly pressed and dressed shiny shoes adorned
Children staying tight with fathers & mothers
All garbed up in neon yellow
Sandal wearing Monks in habits carrying leather briefcases
Men and women in battle dress fatigues orders in hand off to their next assignments, pray it’s not more war

The smells of pizza, caramel corn, espresso, hand sanitizer, diesel fumes,
Unchanged diapers, unshowered travelers
All mashed up as one.
So glad I have this chance to be
Unstuck in O’Hare this day

In this most beautiful and lovely
Of people.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, 7/11/2016

I wrote this yesterday on the way back home from the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Hoping you enjoyed it and that you find yourself “unstuck” and in the “flow of people” some day soon.

Colin’s Visit

Grey kitten resting, breathing, purring,

Grey paint on walls

Embracing mournful souls

With offerings of sweet solace,

Rainfall falling almost endlessly

Emptying the boundless night sky of moisture.


Sound of raindrops’ rooftop landing

After being wind thrown through

Her ancient oaks,

Gutters sagging, overwhelmed and overflowing,

Sleepy human souls slowly drifting off in dreams.


Moments later:

Sun now rising,

Offering its golden prescient glow,

Just as fire’s warm embers waning,

Grey days for them, Alas,

No more…?…

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, 6/7/2016

I wrote this poem on my iPhone on Tuesday evening this week while we sat in our living room as TS Colin made its force felt.  Thank you for reading  :).

O’ Sweet Muse

O’ Sweet Muse,

Sweet soul whisperer,

Whisper your sweet words to me;

I promise that today I’ll listen soulfully sweet.


“Pierian winds blow over me,

Blow through me your delightful inspiration,

So much irresistibly sweeter than the powderiest olykoek,

Visit my soul for a while, please stay,” I pray.


To make sweet songs

That make all the daily crap feel tickety-boo–

My British ancestry making words like that okay,

More than fun and okay with me.


O’ sweet muse,

Pardon me as I escape beneath my urbanized baptismal font,

Escaping the vapours of this June humidity felt through body and soul,

Finding sweet relief in this downtown Y’s natatorium.


Sinking to the bottom of the deep end,

Exhaling all the hot air still trapped inside my lungs,

Finding breathless solace beneath the water’s weight,

Washing away the anxiety and guilt of not being.


Guilty of not being something more than a mugwump,

A mugwump wandering on the Island of Indecision

Allowing life to pass while waiting for some spiritual sweet,

Some sort of doughty awakening of blissfulness of flow of work.


Of labour, love of labour,

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” as the great Poet once wrote,

A metanoia bringing sweet soulfulness

To living each day one poetic moment at a time.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, 06/05/2016

This is another poem in a series of poems I’ve been writing that incorporate 7 consecutive words of the day.  See if you can find them! Thank you for reading! 🙂

Zoogenic Tendencies

So what if these poems never meet the standards

To bear a colophon,

Colophonic complaisance was never his intention.

Whether writing odes to his Dulcinea

Or energized by the jimjams that were his

Maternal genetic blessing.


In writing he found the cure for shaking away the gormlessness

Of his work-a-day world,

Often awakening from hypnagogic restlessness

That refused to yield to deeper sleep

To write these words,

Slowly stripping away the hard-caked fard covering up his Soul.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, 05/29/2016

This weekend, I felt like it was time to pick up the 7 word word-of-the-day poetry challenge I initiated a few months back and hadn’t approached for a while.  This week’s words from were colophon, complaisant, dulcinea, jimjams, gormless, hypnagogic, zoogenic, and hard.  (Yeah, after writing this poem, I discovered an eighth word had snuck into the mix).  Looking at these seemingly unrelated words and their definitions in my notebook proved to be too much of an unyielding temptation so I started writing these verses down before my wife and I went out on Friday night and came up with this little poem. Thank you for reading!  🙂