Social Media, Poetry and Plagiarism

A strange thing happened last week, a short, and I do mean short, poem was basically plagiarized. When I first found out I thought it was kind of funny, I mean here I am, not one of the greatest poets in the world, in fact I’ve only been dabbling in writing poems just the last couple of years. Heck, truth be told, I’m not all that great of a writer. All I do is try to put words down on paper and see where they lead me. I’ve tried creative nonfiction, fiction, essay, blogging as well as poetry, and although I sometimes get a nice comment or two, my writing is not going to change the world. So to have my short, little poem, that I posted on Twitter to be stolen by another Twitter user, well I have to wonder if they were either desperate or drunk. What is really funny is that my original post only garnered me a few likes and a couple of retweet’s, while this persons reposting of my work garnered them hundreds of likes and retweets. So, the good news is that someone liked my poem, it would have just been nice to get the credit but then again, what have I really lost? Just a few words sent out into the ether we call social media, a wilderness as deep and wild as any real wilderness that we might wander through. It will not stop me from writing, I will still post my little poems and musings and if someone out there is moved enough to want to use what I write as their own, then I hope at least they will thank me. By the way, here is that little poem I wrote, it’s not much, but it is mine, enjoy.


is the song

of my heart


in the silence.


The Good Poet

The poet,

a good poet,

sees the world,

I mean,

really sees the world.

They not only see a sunrise,

they see the colors that dance across the horizon.

The changing shapes of clouds

being blown about the blue sky.

When they write about love,

they touch upon deeply held feelings

giving voice to our deepest desires.

Passionate kisses are felt,

the warmth of another person held close,

losing oneself in the moment

wishing it to last forever.

In the way they use words

that worm their way into a person’s heart.

Poetry becomes the portal,

through which we step into

an unseen world,

uncovering mysteries lying

just outside of our limited sight.

Your Story

Your story has sunk into my skin

dived through epidural layers

soaking through the membranes

to become a part of the greater story

the one we have shared all these years

your story has rooted itself

with roots that entwine the deepest parts

of my very being

feeding off the well of love

your story does not exhaust or deplete

it gives as much as it takes

it feeds until it becomes one with mine

and we live together

our souls singing in sweet harmony


As we grow older

As time fades and we grow older

my heart is yet full of love for you

my desire for your touch never ebbs

your skin is as soft and warm

as on that first night we lay together

so many years ago in a long lost age


Poem on Love (lust)

I want to write

the perfect poem

about love,

that kind of love

full of lust

the kind

we don’t talk about

as lovers lay naked

in the midday

tongues meeting

the soft flesh,

slight flicker

that arouses

breath quickens

with each thrust

hips arching

seeking to satisfy


pent up desires,

that kind of love

where two are one

and everything else

doesn’t matter

except to feel

one another


and then die

in each other’s arms

in the madness

called love.



Scarecrow faces
streaming out
of the trains
their eyes hollow
looking out
seeking loved ones
who are ghosts
of what they once knew
before the fires
and the shattered glass
before the barbed wire
and the smoky skies
before the hate
that tried to bury them.


Stories are Everywhere

I’ve been sitting here, staring at that blinking cursor and blank white screen trying to figure out what to write about. Do I write a piece of prose, a bit of nonfiction or fiction, do I write a poem about a tree? There are millions of ideas that float across my mind and like a school of fish they slip past quickly before I’ve had any chance to grab even one. Stories are out there and stories are within, the trick is to start digging away and just write what you see and damn the consequences.

Stories come from our everyday experiences, those seemingly small moments that we don't think are very important but when we begin to unpack them we see something of ourselves. Yesterday I had one such experience, a connection made with a man named George. George has been hanging out in our church yard, using the picnic table to have his breakfast and coffee. George is one of those characters that seem to gravitate toward the church. They are lost, lost in the world, lost in society and lost within themselves. He’s not a dangerous person, he’s not unintelligent, he’s just lost. That is something many people just can't wrap their heads around, that here is a man, who is educated, seems smart and yet can’t seem to find his way. Yet, here he is, struggling. In his mind, in his lostness, he is wrestling with God in his own wilderness. The spiritual struggle some of us go through as we seek our place in this craziness called life.

George and I have now spoken several times and with each conversation another layer of his complex personality is exposed. That he was married, that he was a lawyer, that he had gotten involved with a fundamentalist religious group, and with their blessing went over to Europe to begin a ministry of house churches. Along the way he lost his purpose, he lost his wife and children to divorce and he may have even lost his connection to family and friends.

I sit here, a conduit to God’s grace, a conduit that is in itself flawed by my humanity. I sit and listen, I can offer no quick fix, no special prayers, or some magical incantation, I’m not a Shaman or a mystic, I’m just the person God created me to be. There are stories to be told, to be written down and shared. Stories of our common humanity, of our need for one another, not just when things are going great, but also when we are traveling along a darkened path. Life is a struggle and for some, like George, it is a greater struggle. That is why we need to share these stories because if I were to I be honest, if we were to be honest, there is a bit of George in all of us, that small, scared child who fears what is under the bed or the monsters lurking in the dark closet. Our lives are connected in that mystery we Christians call the Incarnation, the Divine Presence of the Word which called us into being out of the dust.

Maybe that’s why I’m writing this piece, because there are moments when it is easy to get oneself lost. I know there have been those moments, when the darkness of my own mind has overwhelmed me and I found myself struggling to find the path. I don’t believe there is not one human being alive who has not faced their own dark night of the soul, who have wondered about the choices they made and the consequences of those choices.

I read something yesterday stating that what anyone writes is not something original, but mainly a reworking of age old stories. Stories of love, of death, of growing up and coming of age. We all have those stories in the deep well of our memories and it is my task to dip into that well and draw upon those deep waters. Some of the water will be sweet and fresh, and some will be brackish, but it all comes from the same well.

I can say with complete confidence that I am no genius. I struggle with my grammar, I’m unsure of punctuation and word usage, but at least I’m willing to expose these thoughts to the world. Creating anything, whether it is a piece of art, a poem, a story, even a life, requires taking a risk. It’s all too easy to sit on social media posting someone else’s words, it’s something else to post your own. Maybe it is because in taking a moment to try and see the world through the eyes of another, I have been granted a gift and that gift is these words that I write.