Mystery Man

His heavy set physiognomy bore witness to his gluttony of late,

Hardly one to live the abstemious life,

His excesses now appeared unstoppable.


Having given himself over to his desires for

Whole milk, pan fried red meat and all types of fermented barley, malt and wheat,

His new found girth forced its way over his ill-fitting khakis.


Over the past year he had built up a passel of acquaintances

At the local groggery freely spending his student loan income

On rounds of food and drink for those in his sphere of conversation.


Outside that sphere that day sat a quiet, mysterious heavily bearded man

Who seemed quite pleased to remain in his solitary dark corner

Superciliously eyeing the growing crowd over the top of his laptop through his yellow eyes.


This mystery man’s apatetic suit of clothes and

His “Cruz for President” trucker’s cap seemed strikingly out of place

In this college town’s main watering hole.


A watering hole which every day hosted

Its usual mix of profs, grad students and budding undergrads-

Practitioners of the most liberal arts discussing the state of our disunion.


A disunion of disagreeableness forged over misinterpretations

Of inspirations of the Founder’s intent for government,

Would the mystery man leave his solitary corner to jump into the conversational fray?


Was this mystery man dressed for a more sylvan setting

Creating an internecine scheme?

Or was he just an out-of-towner passing through-

Misplaced, out of place, a camouflaged parapraxis?

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, 02/26/2016

For the eighth consecutive week, I have taken on the challenge of writing a poem using 7 consecutive words-of-the-day.  The 7 words-of-the-day are italicized in the poem.  Thank you for reading!  I hope you have as much fun reading these poems as I am having writing them! 🙂





Of Bags of Books & Boxes of Beer

Boxes of beer and wine in the bed of his truck,

Bags of books on the floor and back seat,

Purchases like soul’s ransom carried home

As Saturday’s dawn burned into Saturday’s noon.


Malbecs, Ales, Porters and Sparkling,

Ginsberg, Kerouac, Salinger and Hughes,

His divergent tastes in wheat, barley, malt and grape

As different as his literary tastes of late.


Following his hunger and thirst where they lead,

Creative license given to read,

Read and write to heart’s content,

No longer struggling to pay the rent.


No buyer’s remorse with this choice of “BIG” spending,

Another afternoon spent in want of sweet ending,

Unconscious Id’s heart sweetly rending,

Superego under mind’s weight bending.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, 02/20/2016

I wrote this last Saturday.  I am posting it now as I look forward to a new weekend given to the soulfully rewarding pursuits of more reading and writing.

Thank you for reading! Best wishes to you for a most amazing weekend given to your heart’s pursuits.

Through the Groggery Door

The blue-grey bearded neophyte poet without formal training

Fancied himself a true autodidact-now so rare in this era of T.V.

His laptop and moleskin notebooks on his back,

Some cash in his pocket, ready to meet a new brew

And be charmed by a muse or two.


The imposing man standing guard at the groggery door

Had a castellated physiognomy with biceps like turrets

And a back like the battlements of a medieval fortress

Standing in defense of the foreboding entry to the

Dungeon-like hole-in-the wall nestled into a hill below Main Street.


Is this where the neophyte poet would compose

His sweet sonnets of amative structure and melodious words?

The smooth, rounded river rock floor beneath his feet brought a

Sense of comfortable restlessness to his work-a-day soul,

As he looked for a comfortable spot to land.


The old yellow pine wood on the chair back creaked

As he took a seat in the candlelit semi-darkness,

The worn polymorphous fibers melting into his shoulder blades,

Eyes and ears momentarily drawn to the opposing corner

Where several young men sat engaged in vigorous argy-bargy.


Young men seemingly caught up in arguments of epic proportion

Points being made ever more pointedly as the mountain brews were consumed

Like modern day philosophes bouncing from politics to the universe’s origins,

Wielding spoken words like swords cutting through

Cosmology, Ayn Randian philosophy, and all the world’s religions.


As the neophyte poet breathed the beer-soaked air

Fresh words and ideas floated towards him with new found celerity,

Something about this groggery lifted his groggy labor-tired thoughts

To rising levels of equanimity with a eulogy-like encomium

As old ways were buried–grave marker still wanting.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, 02/19/2016 

This is the seventh in a series of poems in as many weeks written using 7 consecutive words-of-the-day. I italicized the 7 words this week within the poem so readers could readily identify them.  The groggery in this poem is reminiscent of a place we like to visit in Western NC and that immediately took its place in sweet memory after our first visit.  Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed! J

“Next time, just say so”

“Next time, just say so” is what she said on Valentine’s Day as they entered that favorite spot for writing on Sunday afternoons of late and stood in line to order two Pellegrino waters and the customary double shot Espresso.

Why did those words strike

with the ferocity of calumniation?

Something borne in them by the sender

Or something wholly borne by the receiver?


Cutting to the quick of things

Mind not yet even in the thick of things

As Frank Sinatra sings:

“Just the way you look tonight.”


When the dipsy-doodles

of an ordinary day

Come soliciting for more than minor vicissitudes-

Will you be ready?


Will the wispy, white-grey hairs

Of your beard be a symbol of sagacity,

Of wise choices made among whispers

Of something beyond the moment?


A herald that the smoky incense

given off by the firings between your

Interstitial synaptic spaces

Marks the provenance of pansophy?


Or will your choicest decisions be

Like swollen apples on the slow rot sitting

On the ground waiting for a fubsy, little fellow

To come along in due time?


A fubsy, little fellow willing to satiate

With the easy, reachable bite to eat

Rather than hold a vision of what might be

Offered in the ripening available at higher reaches of the mind?

Handcrafted poetry by John Hines, 02/14/2016

This is another (the sixth week of such poems) in the series of 7 words-of-the-day poems ( This week’s words available for crafting into poetry were: provenance, dipsy-doodle, sagacity, vicissitude, fubsy, interstitial, and calumniate.  Thank you for reading!  I hope you enjoyed :).


Songs of Summer Solstice

As aeromancy of alpenglows from

Smoky Mountains’ sweet splendor

offered the antithesis of empty promises,

A cryophilic heart was finally awakened

by the splendor found in summer solstice.


Songs of summer solstice flowed

through the current of his veins,

Magically doing their work,

Opening up electric symphonies

Of unchained possibility.


No longer willing to accept

or give nugatory compensation

In payment for soul’s offerings,

Crying out: “All in”,

Living life to its fullest.


This meant accepting that love

could no longer be given on loan

In hope of future payments

like some form of usury.


A sudden flash of insight,

Crying out

in acutely accelerated awareness:

“All in, for the nonce!”


All in and off the island

of isolated vanquishment,

A soul like an isthmus forever connected to its source,

Never again to be separated

by moving masses of tectonic plates.


The desiderata of soul that leads to new found bliss

In mountain music

Played on an electric violin

On the streets of Asheville

and now danced to in a little club in Gainesville.


No payment worthy of

the spirit that played

Through music on those nights

Offering a ticket to ride to

new places of unchained possibility.

Handcrafted poetry by John Hines, 02/11/2016

This poem was written in a spirit of gratitude for the music created and shared by a two-man band-To All My Dear Friends (  I first heard them on the streets of Asheville this past summer and was fortunate enough to discover their live music again this past weekend in Gainesville with my wife, our oldest son and his fiancée.  Their music literally stopped me in my tracks physically, emotionally and soulfully when I first heard them play in a little street-side, acoustically mesmerizing alcove.  The music now plays in my truck more days than not on the way to and from work; and has become my life’s soundtrack over the past 6 months.  I am sure its soulful touch will carry me until we are back in the Carolina mountains again in the spring.

Note: I used the same seven words of the day in another poem of a totally different feel last week:  Thank you for reading!  I hope you enjoyed :).


Cryophilic Little Devil

Devilishly delighting in the denial of even

A nugatory spoonful of desiderata

To hungry hearts longing for just

A taste of warmth of dreamy visions.


He was a cold hearted cryophilic species

Much preferring the islands of his own deceits

To an isthmus of connectedness

Even with those he claimed to love.


Ever focused on the dirty deeds of his

Daily existence–“for the nonce, for the nonce”,

Powerfully denying any brighter future outside

Of surety of death.


Even as golden mountain’s fresh alpenglow

After summer’s quenching rains

Offered an aeromancy of possibility

Of sweeter days to come.


Spring to Summer, Fall to Winter

Seasons of unchanging surety of sameness,

His daily nonexistence flowed forever

Through the marrow of his essence.


Even while shifting lunar cycles made their play all round,

Each tide shifting willing spirit’s sands of dissimilarity,

New to First to Full to Quarter

Waxing to Waning, Gone and back again.

Handcrafted poetry by John Hines, 02/05/2016

This is the fifth in a series of poems using 7 consecutive words of the week (  This week’s words were isthmus, cryophilic, nonce, aeromancy, alpenglow, desiderata, and nugatory.

I wrapped up the reading of my 10th book of 2016 this week-Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities.  I think some of the emotions I experienced in the final half of the book snuck in here and met up with some earlier life experience.  Maybe this devil is depression?  Maybe depression’s work on a person is like the devilish figures of Dickens making their way through the streets and prisons of the guillotine-era?  Thank you for reading :).



Zenith Missing

Two loads of laundry going, one load folded and put away, dishes moved from sink to dishwasher, empty trashcan brought up from road, 3 cups of coffee down, Kitty’s litter box cleaned, pool filter emptied, sun shining brightly outside, a shadow of careerism lurking over shoulders, a mental health day is what he needed and all he wanted to do was read and write while the grey ghost of careerism cast its shadows on his thoughts, nearing fifty years of existence on this planet Earth…

Having never reached the zenith

In any of his career paths,

Being recognized recently

Cash on the way, payout coming,

One of the best and the brightest,

Model classroom, visitors’ expectancies.


Even at his age, once again,

Questioning his calling, his purpose,

Even while teaching humanistically

Hierarchy of needs, Self-actualization,

Accidental realization?

For want of Maslow’s peak and Csikszentmihalyi flow.


Six years into this new career-

Needing, wanting, seeking change again?

Letter of intent awaiting a reply,

Reaching out for vocational bliss with exceptional cupidity-

What’s wrong with that?

Expectancy of nimiety of self-transcendence.


Expounding on the theories of motivation and work

While feeling like a Jack of many Trades, a master of none,

Zenith missing: “Put your nose down. Get to work!”

Such a pugnacious attitude of soul this week,

Shadow of careerism sometimes more than lurking

And becoming quite vociferous.


Memories of sweet smile of predawn morning’s full moon shining

Through the trees reflected off uncaged pool’s waters,

Giving thanks with gracious arms raised to the sky,

Pure appreciation, no need for selenology to understand or feel,

Deep breaths purposefully breathing gracious thanks

For yet another day.


Memories of two fathers’ lives

So recently passing-Legacy to live,

Maslowian self-transcendence yet to give,

Like the pleasures of the feelings felt from full moon’s smile,

Doesn’t this life beg

For a more insouciant approach to living

Purposefully in each moment’s while?

Handcrafted poetry by John Hines, 01/28/2016

This is the fourth week in a row that I have written a poem using the seven most previous and consecutive words of the day.  The words I had to work with this week were selenology, vociferous, cupidity, nimiety, pugnacious, insouciant, and zenith.  If you liked this you poem, you might like these: (; and ).

Thank you for reading!  Have a most awesome week! J