Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Photographer

Okay, so it's still raining! Since doing outdoor photography is impossible today. Here's a poem instead! ;) It is a cinquain, according to form, with 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables in five lines.

The Photographer

Mind's eye
Ribbon unfurls
Revealing misty earth
Colors colliding with black lines
of truth.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Writer... a poem about the experience, such as it is...

The Writer

Black Ink Abyss
Iron-cloaked scribe
My pen issues gray hollow flow
of words.

White Blast
Passion discharged
Released in sonic boom
Shooting inspiration bullets
in verse.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Couple stung by second beehive theft

Couple stung by second beehive theft - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

You have to wonder why someone would steal a beehive...???

Friday, May 12, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Resident Wrens

We have two tiny wrens who take up housekeeping every May in two birdhouses on our front porch, built just for them, I might add.

We first noticed the wrens years ago when my husband found birds nesting in a hanging basket on the porch. He set about to the task of building the birdhouses from scratch, work which he enjoys. But I'm certain he also wanted the birds out of his greenery.

They are bold little creatures. Each time one of us, including the dog, steps out on the porch, he is greeted with a tsunami of squawks and squeals big enough to knock a person off his feet. You can see the tiny scoundrels, beaks wide open, in the rhododendron next to the porch, so we know who is doing all the yelling. ;) The wrens have no fear of us big old lumbering humans.

What I am still trying to figure out is, how can such a
tiny bird have such a BIG chirp!  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

To Sharon

Spring Hillside
Originally uploaded by jojanoski.
Life goes round, Sharon, dear
Swirling in constant motion
Til new beginnings reappear

Life fills with smiles while joy is near
Til Fate offers up new emotions
Life goes round, Sharon, dear

Shadows fall while grief lurks near
While Life again stirs its motion
Til new beginnings reappear

During the darkness, Light is near
Waiting with brand new notions
Life goes round, Sharon, dear

Dance in the Light, Sharon, dear
Through these darkest emotions
Til new beginnings reappear

Forging a Life without fear
Of the dark and its bleak notions
Life goes round, Sharon, dear
Til new beginnings reappear

Sunday, May 07, 2006

May Flowers

May Flowers
Originally uploaded by jojanoski.
I love these wildflowers that roll across our lawn every May. I have only just discovered exactly what they are--Bluets/Quaker-ladies. You can read about them at

May Sings

May sings in the morning
in an air ringing clear.
Birds pipe in the chorus,
in diamond drops of cheer.

Grass sparkling with sunshine
blazing a trail of gold
in lacy patches flowing
through leafy branches bold.

Emerging from the grass,
blue twinkles so sublime.
Tiny bluets cluster
in May, a magic time.

The blueness of the flowers
The soft green of the grass
So delicate, so musical,
May's sparkle bound to last.

Copyright JO Janoski

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Lilies of the Valley

Lilies of the Valley
Originally uploaded by jojanoski.
I'm testing my new flickr account, posting from there. We have a huge patch of lilies of the valley in our front yard. I love their syrupy scent and the green curving leaves that wrap around sweet little white flowers. Lilies of the valley are my favorite flowers which seems appropriate since they are the flower for May birthdays, and my birthday is in May!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The times sure have changed...

The times sure have changed...I was at the hospital today. I should begin by mentioning I worked in a hospital 30 years ago. In those days, I remember only a couple "codes" for the intercom--Code red for a fire, code blue for a cardiac arrest. Nowadays, they have  a code gray for a disaster (not specified what type of disaster, leading one to wonder); code pink for child abduction; code yellow for a bomb; code red for a cardiac arrest and code blue for something ambiguously dangerous...I forget now what word they used--let's just call it a really bad event like a terrorist attack or something. All indicating the world's become a dangerous place.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Glimpses of people in poetry...

Glimpses of people in poetry...

The Teacher

Steel ice
Eyes shoot lightning
Taps her wooden pointer
Demanding complete attention

*    *    *

The Huckster

Whoa here!
Grizzled fellow
Hawking fresh tomatoes
From a screaming dented red truck
Near you

*    *    *
Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Observation Journal 4/30/06

Birds this morning--I never heard such a racket, so much chirping and squawking. The pileated woodpecker is the most amazing. It calls out loud and clear, mimicking Woody the Woodpecker--Not really, this bird is much more fascinating, but it does have loud shrill call. The cartoon character was based on this bird. I love living in a rural area.

* * *

A family member has been taken to the hospital tonight. I'm always amazed how these things catch me off guard. I guess I'm the eternal optimist, never thinking anything can go wrong...

Keith Richards In Hospital After Fall From Palm Tree

Keith Richards In Hospital After Fall From Palm Tree

Okay, he fell from the tree. I get that part. But what the heck was he doing up in a palm tree to begin with? Oh, wait! He is an antique rocker...Oh, I get it. ;)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Pilgrims' Voyage

I first wrote this story five years ago. I've dusted it off and polished it. What do you think?

The Pilgrims' Voyage

A crisp autumn morning sent brilliant sun sparkles dancing off the shiny sea. The great vessel, its sails billowing in the wind, anchored in the harbor at Plymouth, England while passengers for the New World struggled along the walkway, lugging their dreams wrapped up in neat bundles along with their possessions. For these were deeply religious people who sought freedom from the Church of England to practice their faith in their own way in a new land.
Anna English and her husband, Tom, struggled with a huge black trunk as William, their boy, tagged behind. This was the last of their baggage and once stowed, Anna stopped to survey her fellow passengers, hoping to find someone familiar. She was acquainted with all, but some were more familiar than others.
"Anna, isn't it a shame about the other ship, the Speedwell?" her friend, Margaret, asked. The other boat had been declared unseaworthy, and now only the Mayflower could make the trip.
"Yes, especially since now we are squeezed in tighter than ever," Anna replied.
"At least we are getting out of England."
Yes, we are getting out of England, and we will be free. Anna's heart beat a little faster as she watched beat-up trunks and heavy boxes moving past. She studied the graceful sails bulging above, the intricate framework of the ship, the wooden deck, and the rugged contraptions used to sail the boat. Seagulls swooped across the sky, and the smell of salt water tickled her nose. Looking toward the horizon she spied the expanse of endless blue, blue that reached forever, a sultry hue that at the other end splashed against shores that would be her new home. It was September 16, 1620, a day of new beginnings. Anna could feel stabss of joy in her heart, painful in their intensity.
Suddenly, the din on the ship intensified as sailors yelled while ropes and white sails twirled in a flurry of movement. Her spouse, Tom, hugged Anna and their son, William, as the massive ship jerked and shook when the heavy anchor was hoisted out of the water and lowered onto the deck. The boat swayed as skillful seamen tugged and pulled to make the sails fill with air.
The ship inched forward slowly, then faster. Her heart pounded as Anna felt the ship's movement, propelling them away from the shore. They were heading out to open sea. The Pilgrims cheered despite their normal seriousness. Anna clutched Tom's arm tight as the vessel picked up speed. She whispered good-bye to England wistfully. Soon they were flying like the wind! The journey had begun.
That evening, the Pilgrims gathered for a meal on board the ship. Their first concern was to thank God for a good and safe beginning to the voyage. They enjoyed an elaborate feast with fruits and vegetables that would not be available later in their journey. The supper was festive, hopeful, and full of good faith. Soon conditions would change.
The going remained slow at first, as the Pilgrims adjusted to the limitations of life at sea. On the ship, 101 passengers took residence, each eking out a space by squatter's rights, and Anna felt hopelessly confined in the tight quarters she had found for herself and her family. A cubicle with enough space to spread out a blanket to sleep was provided, and nothing more. Each day turned into the next in a monotony propelled by the motion of the sea. She made the most of it at first, but after two weeks, the strain took hold. To begin with, the motion of the boat made her sick, and she couldn't get used to it. She didn't dare go to the upper deck for fear the rocking would make her feel worse. Down below, many others were sick as well, and the stench of vomit and diarrhea made her more ill. She spent most of the time confined to her miniature sleeping area, resting and eating little for fear of bringing the food back up. The confinement transformed her into a caged animal, losing touch with life and its refinements, quickly scaling down to brute survival. The only day she ventured out of her cubicle was dreadful.
"Anna, how are you?" Her friend, Margaret, was the first person she saw. Concern cast a shadow over the other woman's face.
"Yes, you look pale, Sister. Let me get you something to eat."
Anna put out a hand to stop her friend. "No, please. I can't eat." She paused and looked around the ship. "How have things been up here on deck?"
"Not good. You see those people over there," Margaret nodded toward three men clustered together across from them. "There has been some fighting as to who has the right to what and so forth, and there is talk of splitting up when we get to Virginia. We are squeezed in so tight. Tempers are short."
"Splitting up! But we came to seek freedom together! To start a new colony!"
"It appears some folks would like their freedom not so much from England as from their neighbors," Margaret said, arching one eyebrow as she spoke.
Anna glared at the men to see lines of consternation on their faces. What was this unrest about? What had happened to their dream? She caught sight of Myles Standish and John Alden standing far off, studying the other group.
Shrugging her shoulders, she murmured, "God help us," before retreating to her cubicle.
Anna continued to be sick and soon lost track of time altogether. Life as she remembered distanced itself, and now she lived in a strange, new reality. It was a new existence living in a box, always hungry, and never being happy or occupied. Her husband and son gave up on her as incorrigible and waited to see if at the journey's end, she would come back to them. She felt dirty living in the lower deck with its sickening odors. The poor woman wore the same clothes as when they started, and her hair was a tangled mat looking more like a bird's nest than a woman's properly combed tresses.
Sometimes she would look around, and everything would seem suddenly new and different, unfamiliar and frightening, although she had been staring at the same walls and people for weeks. Her mind, suffering under the strain of the voyage, frequently played such tricks on her.
At night, she heard and sensed the sea until it enveloped her with its dark magic, bringing to mind legends of monsters, ghosts, and other ghastly creatures that lurked on the water and under it. Anna became a product of her environment. Fantasies such as ghosts seemed all too real to her as she listened to the ocean splashing against the boat, remaining mesmerized and under its trance. She lay rigid on her bed and listened to every creak and groan of the old boat. With each tremor or squeak, she shivered.
One night, it was worse than ever. She was dozing when a thunderous roar awakened her. A dream of dragon monsters on the sea left its eerie residue in her mind as she woke.
The storm, the worst they had encountered, rocked the boat while thunder and rain bombarded the vessel. Terrified, Anna crawled close to her husband, Thomas, and clung to him. When lightning flashed, illuminating the deck in an instant of electric horror, she screamed in a hollow empty wail that had a life of its own. Rain and thunder went on for hours, while the Pilgrims dug their Bibles out of musty old trunks and read the Scriptures with all their hearts, offering prayer to a merciful God to see them through the storm. A moody pink dawn brought an end to the torment when the rains quit.
The people came up on the deck in small, slow steps, still frightened, but gazing around to ascertain the damage. The Mayflower had made it, but a new problem presented itself. The storm had knocked them totally off course. They had lost their way to Virginia.
The news traveled around the ship like a firestorm. Its urgency snapped Anna back to reality, a slap in the face, a clarion call that something had to be done or she would be lost in this unfathomable hell for the rest of her life. She sought out her friend, Margaret.
"Margaret, what do you know about all this?"
"It's true. We are off course. We will land in the New World, but not in Virginia."
"Not in Virginia?"
"Somewhere else, along the coast all alone and lucky to be alive!"
Anna pondered this news as she felt a new strength rolling over in her soul, growing with each breath. At least they would still land in the New World. We will just have to make the best of things and thank God we are alive, she thought. Making a life in the wilderness would not be easy.
"I must help the others," she said as she gathered up her black skirt and rushed to where the Pilgrims were assembled.
Anna spent the next weeks holding hands and talking people through their fears. She encouraged others to have faith that they could still prosper in the new land although their plans had been ruined.
"We are a self-sufficient people. We will make a good life for ourselves, with God's help," she told one and all. Many felt heartened by her words and prayers. The only area where she had little influence was in the growing schism among the Pilgrims, but Alden and Standish were preparing a Compact to bind the group together again once they reached land.
Finally, on November 21, they spotted the coast. Anna ran to the deck to gaze out, straining to catch a glimpse of the wondrous New World where they planned to start new lives.
"YES, YES! There it is! There it is!" Anna screamed as she jumped up and down and pointed. Gazing at the golden shore, her heart was filled with wonder that was quickly replaced by restlessness. She wanted to get off the boat--needed to get off the boat. Clenching her fists, she waited as the Mayflower glided quickly toward land. All 101 Pilgrims were gathered on the deck when the anchor was dropped. They scattered off the ship in a wave of crazy euphoria as the good earth felt firm under foot again. They jumped and hugged one another in torrents of emotion long kept in check. The hardships and pain of the sea journey were forgotten.
Anna picked up sand in quiet wonder and strained it through her fingers. It glittered and streamed to the ground like tiny gems. She spun around and looked back to sea, pondering the expanse of endless blue, blue that reached out forever, that at its other end splashed against the shores of a land called England.
"With God's help, freedom," she said as she bowed her head in prayer.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Two Kinds of People

Glimpses of people in poetry...

Two kinds of people...

Sales Clerk
Eyes closed to me
Keyboard pounding check-out
Leaves me lonely, feeling untouched

Sales Girl
Giggles, hellos
Magic motion check-out
Paying glows with painless bright light
A smile

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stopping Time

A poem to start a beautiful spring morning...

Stopping Time

Softening light smooths my glaring world
while morning's stillness pushes away
motor-driven thoughts of "things to do"
and stops time
to recline in this white velvet moment
of careful consideration
of what "it" is all about.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski
* * *
Recent Poetry

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


(A fun radio script)...

I haven't done a commercial in a while, not since the poo-gram and laundry detergent.

FRED: Hello, we are two dogs and a cat--I'm Fred, he's Rover, and that other despicable creature over there is the cat whose name I don't even recall. Yuck!

CHLOE: I'm Chloe the cat! Ignore that cretin dog, Folks!

ROVER: Hey, shut up, Chloe! That's my buddy! Hey, ho, Freddie!

FRED: Yeah, okay, Rover! Anyway, we are here to introduce you to the Constant Comfort Mattress, the mattress that lets you sleep like a kitten all night long.

CHLOE: Hey! Watch your language! I'm the only one who gets to talk about felines, you moron! You're not even worthy to walk in my wake, you hairy ball of blubber.

FRED: I'll deal with you later, Chloe! Speaking of hairy, you should wish you had my beautiful red Irish setter fur. But I digress... Folks, Constant Comfort mattresses come in all the usual sizes--twin, regular, queen, and king. But they also have a Super King size that is big enough for the whole family. I have to say I'm not fond of the concept--I mean, those silly humans...they always want to get in the bed with Rover, Chloe, and me. We try to kick them out, but it never works. And that's why Constant Comfort has designed this new, larger mattress size.

ROVER: Yeah, those stupid humans can fit on it, too, even when I want to stretch.

CHLOE: Yes, and it is so big I can have my own personal space, just the way I like it.

FRED: It's sturdy, too. I have some nasty claws, and when I scratch out a patch to sleep on at night, that mattress can take my paws digging in night after night.

CHLOE: Yes, and it sooo luxurious. I can feel my precious little body sinking into its comforts, from head to toe. Mmmmm, so soft.

ROVER: And yet supportive, yippee! Can you believe it! I'm a restless sleeper, and on our old mattress, when I rolled over, the old bed shook, jiggling everyone around like jello. The humans used to get really mad, not a nice trait for guests, I might add.

FRED: I remember that. I got sea sick one time, threw up all over the bed, but I digress. Now we can all roll over from side to side, or onto our backs or stomachs, and the mattress stays firm.

CHLOE: Yes, the less I have to listen to the others complaining, the happier I am, of course!

FRED: So check out the Constant Comfort mattress today, and you'll sleep like a kitten tonight!

CHLOE: Shut up about kittens! Blasphemy!

ROVER: Buy one today! Your humans will thank you for it! Arf!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yellow (A Cinquain Poem)

The third in my group of three poems on recent changes in the weather.


Giggling across brown fields
In gay splatters of life unleashed
in spring.


Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Breezes (A cinquain poem)

The following is a cinquain poem, a poem of 5 lines with the following syllables per line: 2, 4, 6 8, 2. Try one! They are fun. This is the second of three short tributes to the changing weather I'm planning this week. And now, the poem:


Caress my cheek
Kissing warm breath of spring
Chasing chilly disposition
of March

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Robin (Cinquain poem)

The following is a cinquain poem, a poem of 5 lines with the following syllables per line: 2, 4, 6 8, 2. Try one! They are fun. This is the first of three short tributes to the changing weather I'm planning this week. And now, the poem:


Cocked head, red breast
Listening to senses
Catching my breath, I wait with him
For worms.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dog Lamps and Other Pet Tricks

I am the proud parent of the coolest dog in the world, Well, okay, most dog owners think their pooch is the coolest, smartest, most attractive animal on the planet--much like human parents feel the same way about their babies. But Peepers really is cool.

We brought her home from a goat farm ten years ago, a wild little dog who had (literally) been raised up to that point in a barn. When I placed her down in our house, she bolted for an end table and jumped on it. I have to say, this dog looked mighty strange standing next to my favorite lamp. No manners whatsoever!

When we finally domesticated her, she became a loyal companion. For that I love my pooch, but I cherish her even more for a fun-loving nature. I don't know if it is the breed, smooth fox terrier, or just her personality, but Peepers loves to play. Chasing a ball, yes, but much more. She devises her own games, catching it in her long skinny snout, then proceeding to bury the toy in leaves or under a blanket, next digging it back up again with lots of pouncing and rustling. If it is Peeper's play time and you are remiss, she will arrive with the ball in her mouth to sit and stare at you until you relent.

She plays like a terrier--lots of jumping and endless vigor. But in the next moment, she can be a lap dog. Humbly crawling on you and curling up with a sigh. Peepers is expressive, and I know what is on her mind most of the time...a rare degree of communication you don't see often with pets. Oops, speaking of being expressive...there's my girl--staring at me with her blue ball in her mouth. I gotta go!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


A nine-square poem...

Stark black ghost flies through time in cold rush
Frightening, declaring rudiments
of future to achieve or perish.

Its reach like ice steals joy and warns me
engaging inwardly fearfully
to forewarn, to repeat, to repel.

Pain need not be bad and one must hope
faithfully, carefully, hopefully
for destiny to arrive with kindness.


Copyright 2006 JO Janoski 

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Catholic School...
And how it made me what I am today

I dedicated my first book, Tea and Chocolates, to my old school teachers, the Sisters of St. Rosalia School. You might find it odd, but I couldn't help myself. They taught me everything I needed to get through the adversities in life, and for that, my gratitude is endless.

Discipline: In Catholic school, there are no excuses. I cannot remember a single time where an excuse was accepted for being late, homework not done, or a failing grade. The Sisters would have none of it. To be honest, the last thing I wanted would be to make someone with a name like "Sister Servula" angry. If that nomenclature sounds scary--well, she was. Don't worry--the nuns did not use corporal punishment, but they did make good use of their voices, coupled with the power to extract red-faced shame from recalcitrant students. In retrospect, there was nothing they did as severe as the real knocks and bumps of adult life, but the determination to do the right thing or else learned in those knee-knocking days still works well in the real world.

Secondly, they taught us devotion...devotion to something larger than ourselves. A Force, if you will, to guide one's conscience and to soothe one's soul. Personally, I think the worst thing we can do today is remove God from public schools. To whom are we teaching the children to lean on, and to whom are they answerable for their deeds? I think the accountability to a Higher Power has everything to do with preparing one's self for the future. Do the public schools propose to separate from that learning and to teach only what is in their textbooks? Is that possible?

Nihilism is an ugly monster. To see only as far as the tip of your own nose is the most vulgar, self-limiting thing I can imagine. Spiritual knowledge is actually self-knowledge in disguise, and I think that is where the Sisters succeeded. Most of all, they taught me to know myself--to know I could accomplish what needed to be done and to see a shining star in the sky every night offering inspiration beyond life's limits. What better education is there?

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski 

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A commercial for laundry detergent

I haven't written a commercial since the one for a PooGram. Here is one for a new brand of laundry detergent. (Forgive me!)

*   *   *

Scene: Laundry Room
Distraught housewife looks at dingy gray shirt and throws it down in disgust.

Housewife: "This shirt will never be white like when it was new."

(A knock at the door. A voice) "Hello! Help is on the way!"

(Housewife opens door and man steps in. He wears white tights, white leotard, and white cape) "I'm Captain SuperWhite! Here to save the day! I heard you are in laundry distress."

Housewife: (Eyeing him  up and down)  "Who are you? Are you sure you're not looking for the gay bar two blocks over...errr, not that there's anything wrong with that..."

Capt. SW: "No! You silly! I'm here to help you with your laundry!"

Housewife: "Do you want to fold or iron?"

Capt. SW: "No, no! I'm here to make it whiter with my new Whiz with Bleach, a detergent from Huckster and Ramble."

Housewife: "Whiz with Bleach? Are you kidding me?"

Capt. SW: (Murmurs) "This sure isn't like the old days.  They respected Mr. Clean."   (Continues, louder) "Yes, madam, I'm serious. Let's try a load."

(He grabs shirt and throws it in washer, adding Whiz with Bleach, starts the machine)

Capt. SW: "Well, while we wait for the load to finish, let me tell you about this fine detergent. It's a yellow liquid..."

Housewife: "Yellow liquid, with a name like 'Whiz,' why am I not surprised?"

Capt. SW: (Ignores her and continues) "...Yellow liquid with green specks. The green specks are bleach, you see, color-safe bleach that brightens your colors while it whitens your whites, all in the convenience of a liquid. No messy powder!"

Housewife: "It looks pukey."

Capt. SW:  "Whaat?"

Housewife: "It looks like vomit. How can I put vomit on my clothes."

Capt. SW: "It's not vomit! It's Whiz with Bleach in a handy liquid form that brightens your colors while it whitens your whites."

Housewife: "I don't know. It still looks like vomit to me."

Capt. SW: "It's not vomit!" (Captain SuperWhite looks at his watch) "Look! The wash cycle is over. Let's take a look at that shirt."

(Pulls shirt out of the washer and holds it up. It is yellow with green specks all over it. He gasps)

Housewife: "Hey, what did you do to my shirt? Now it looks like puke!"

Capt. SW: "I...I don't know. Whiz with Bleach has never failed me before. Maybe your washer is dirty." (Inspects the inside of the washer)

Housewife: "Hey, are you calling me a bad housewife?" (Grabs Captain White by the tights, propels him toward the door) "Get out of my house!"

Capt. SW: "Wait! What's the address of that bar! I think I need a drink!"

Housewife: "Drink this!" (Hurls the bottle of Whiz at him and slams the door) "It was vomit!" (Murmuring she leaves the room)

The End

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski 

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Daffodil --A little something to cure the winter doldrums!


Shine sweet, shine warm, joy to all who see
Elegant, shimmering, daffodil
Soft guiding, heart stirring, God-given.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Story time...

A Night with Edgar...

Black clouds slammed together producing a thunderous roar as Emilie Smit closed the door against the storm after shaking torrents of water from her umbrella. Dusk was falling and the rain gave no indication it would be over soon as water streamed down the windows from horizontal blasts propelled by an angry wind.

Emilie had been shopping, and a tiny smile passed her lips as she laid a tiny bundle on the table. Her lucid blue eyes never left the package as she removed her coat and settled in an overstuffed chair. The lady sunk into the chair's comforts, but sat up quickly to reach for the bag, jostling her abundant auburn curls with the movement. They bounced around her shoulders and halfway down her back in cascades of shiny movement.

Her slender fingers undid the wrapping and lifted out a white box. Lifting the lid, she caught her breath spying the beautiful ring. The circle of gold was embellished with three tiny sapphires, gleaming blue and two little pearls at each end of the grouping. Lifting it up to the light, Emilie's heart fluttered with delight.

Slipping it on her finger, she stretched out her hand to see the sapphires sparkle. The jewels danced and glimmered in her view with all the beauty and grace of a dancing angel. They spoke to her of another era, where ladies draped in elegant long dresses entered grand drawing rooms bedecked in jewels such as these. Emilie closed her eyes and imagined an elegant ball where the wearer of this ring would be the center of attraction.

Clutching the jewelry to her heart and twirling on tiptoes around the dimly lit room, she swirled past the television and bumped into a chair. Even as she stumbled, Emilie smiled in contentment.

"Rachel, my darling, at last we are together. It is I, Edgar." The deep voice rattled her out of the sweet reverie.

A startled oh escaped as her eyes met a pair of brown ones that screamed with what looked like hot unbridled love.

"Rachel, I thought you'd never come," the tall man murmured, grabbing Emilie and placing little kisses up and down her neck.

"Excuse me! Do we know each other?" The words rushed from her mouth in a torrent of excitement ignited by the kisses. Next, startled, she backed away with quick, little steps.

"Rachel, why do you act like you don't know me?"

"I don't, and how did you get in here? Ooooh, I demand you leave my house immediately," she replied, her hand touching the moist spot where seconds ago he had showered her with pecks of love.

"I don't understand. Are you not Rachel?  You certainly look like her." The love in his eyes transformed to disappointment.

"No, I'm not. Now how did you get in my house?" 

"You put on the ring. Putting on the ring always releases me...from the ethers. I've been waiting for you, for centuries, you love." His hand reached to stroke her cheek.

She pushed him away, repeating his remarks in confusion. "I put on the ring, and it releases you to come to Rachel, or since I have the ring, to me."

"Are you not Rachel...or perhaps you would like to pretend to be?" He murmured the last phrase in a steamy whisper while taking her face in his hands and searching for an answer.

"Would that be okay...if I pretend to be Rachel?" Emilie asked in a little voice. Her eyes widened while her lips tensed into a slit above her chin.

"Well, the 'powers that be' would not be amused, my love. But I would never tell them." He showered her with kisses on her cheeks and neck. Emilie felt warm all over.

The following morning Emilie padded to the kitchen early to make coffee. Edgar was gone for now anyway, but she fully intended to summon him back again. A dark day presented itself in rain and thunder again.  

The watery sounds of streaming rain and stormy booms offered a startling contrast to the soft contentment in her heart. Last night she had been loved in a way that heretofore had been unimaginable. Fluid, total, wrapped in his arms--the object of his devotion, she surrendered because there was no way she could resist. A sigh escaped as she measured the water for coffee. Thank goodness she bought that ring. As long as she had it and put it on, dear Edgar would come and make passionate love to her.

bam sent her jumping in fright. Glancing out the window, she spied a tree on fire in the yard, struck by lightning. Running outside, she met her neighbor who had emerged at the sound, as well. The trunk was engulfed in flames wrapping it around it like sultry dancers, turning the old oak by the inches to a smoking black pole. The rain had reduced to a drizzle, allowing the flames to do their evil work unimpeded.

"Looks like that tree's a goner," the neighbor said, his hands on his hips like the undeclared authority he was. "I'll call the fire department."

"Thanks, George," Emilie replied while stepping back from the flaming tree. The excitement made her forget the previous night for a moment, but glancing up to her bedroom window reminded her again. 

Another bam propelled her heart into a startled orbit. Confused, she spied with dismay as another boom issued a bolt of lightning. The white hot streak danced its tendrils across the sky, reaching, touch the roof of her house. With a crackle and a pop, her home ignited. The flames roared, proceeding to consume the roof like hungry animals, next wrapping down along the walls. The wood frame house offered no resistance to the fire. 

"MY HOUSE! MY HOUSE!" Emilie screamed, running up and down the street trying to summon help, stumbling and getting up again to run again. The neighbors gathered, but there was nothing they could do. The fire department arrived to see the last of the walls crumble. Emilie's life in minutes became a stack of charred embers and ash. Her friends soothed her as she sat on the curb, dismal and empty.

"Well, at least I have Edgar," she murmured reaching to stroke the ring on her finger. As long as she had the ring, she could summon him was then she realized her finger was bare. She had removed the jewelry and left it on the bed stand. 

"OH NO!" she shrieked, getting up and rushing into the embers. Falling on her knees as black dust flew, she ran her hands through the ashes hoping to feel the tiny ring in her grasp.

"Emilie, you're going to get burnt! GET OUT OF THERE!" her neighbor cried.

"NOT UNTIL I FIND MY RING!" she yelled. After an hour, she found it among the ruins, the stones blackened and the gold melted. It was no longer a ring, but only a dull blob of metal and rocks. Only she knew its worth.  Laying the dusty chunk on her blackened hand, she hoped perhaps the magic could still work. But she knew it would not.

For years afterward, she wondered if the universe paid her back for pretending to be Rachel or if it all was merely a coincidence how a disaster happened after she lied. Figuring she'd never know, she took pleasure in the fact that at least she would always have the memory of her time with Edgar. 

On many nights, she looked at the starry sky and wondered if he ever found Rachel; after all, that was the woman he truly loved. 

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski 

Monday, March 20, 2006

Where Pop is Pop and not a Soda...

This is the third part of my series of articles, the first and second, detailing what it's like for a city person to move to the country. In this article I list reasons why I love Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh can try a good man's soul, what with its provincial attitudes and outrageous traffic patterns. I mean, how can it possibly take longer to drive to the airport than the time needed for your flight? All the same, I wouldn't leave this city for the world. Lots of good reasons come to mind, some big--some small. Here is a sampling:

1. I cringe every time someone calls "pop" a "soda." (It is just so wrong! It makes me nuts. How can I live where they would do that!)

2. I haven't yet figured out what "Protestants" are. (I've always assumed Catholics and Jews were all there is.)

3. I like being part of a local cult with its own (yinzer) language and nurturing Giant Eagle. I mean, who doesn't consider the Iggle a part of the family?

4. I love watching the city grow. When I was coming up, this was a shot and beer town. From grubby steelworkers with lunch executives, software researchers, health care personnel--I can't believe in my lifetime I've watched Pittsburgh evolve a whole new persona.

5. I love the city for what it used to be, too. This weekend, I was traveling with hubby through the neighborhoods. All afternoon cruising up and down the streets, I studied century old buildings and houses. I gazed at churches and schools along the way and old store fronts, many now closed or abandoned. The ghosts of earlier days still linger in those old  brick and frame buildings surrounded  by narrow cobblestone streets and alleys. Those worn rough textures reach out to remind us that  hard-working people lived here once whose sweat built a strong city and whose steel mills built an even stronger country. In those weathered homes with pretty shutters and ornate details, families were whole, engrossed in each other, and God-fearing. The schools meant business and the churches were everyone's haven in times of both need and joy. The Church was everything in that time of brutal living.

How our predecessors would scoff at us today--we've forsaken their values of family, education,  community, and church, abandoning them to neglect. I'm sure those people would ask, "Well, then what do you value?" How would we answer...from this disposable society that rushes to keep up with itself, getting nowhere fast? No time for neighbors,  no time for the kids! I love the fact Pittsburgh was built by immigrants who came here, work ethic intact, and built their dreams. And I'm grateful their homes and buildings, in all their elaborate, patiently constructed beauty remain, to remind us to build a similar permanence and meaning into our own lives, physically and spiritually. 

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Sunday, March 19, 2006

May I share my Sunday with you? The following poem is a Chronos~w, a form invented by a friend of mine and her daughter. It is a single-stanza poem with words per line as follows, first line to last: 9,8,6,9,6.


Sunday afternoon sunny rays fill my room with music
Godly in their brilliance, warm where they touch
Ethereal, magical, brilliant rays of elegance
Chasing away gray times, flooding today with limpid warmth
Carried on gossamer beams of light

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Friday, March 17, 2006

(A Villanelle while waiting for spring...)

Clouds of gray dust fill my day
contaminating clean air
Looking for Sun coming my way

Cloudiness fills every way
Stomping on all I may dare
Clouds of gray dust fill my day

Sunshine shares its love-filled rays
Evidence of One who cares
Looking for Sun coming my way

Sweet inspirational rays
with whispery warm prayers 
Clouds of gray dust fill my day

Clouds with soft steps float away
My cheeks blush in sweet prayers
Looking for Sun coming my way

Joyful hymns singing this day
Warm hearts beating, Someone cares
Clouds of gray dust fill my day
Looking for Sun coming my way

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Moving to the Country...Part  2...

Yesterday I detailed the good points of moving to a small Western Maryland town. Today, the bad points.

My first disappointment being transferred to a farming community: the clothes. What a shocker to find everyone dressing in clothes popular the decade before! It reminded me of my parents, who were fashion disasters. My dad wore a Clark Kent baggy suit and brimmed hat well into the British rock era of the mid-60's, but I digress.

My second lesson: Yikes! No traffic jams. Now this was indicative of an even greater problem. No stress! How could people function without stress? It was inconceivable. What made them get up in the morning? The answer to that query is chicory coffee, a local favorite--but there I go with the digressing again.

And, Lesson #3: Loneliness. It's true. I enjoyed my stay, loved the wilderness, adored the people, but I was out of my element. My heart ached to speak to people of my own sort. Long-haired, wire-rimmed, bell-bottomed freaks who populated Pittsburgh in those days in countless numbers. You know who you are. We were all "friends" possessing a group consciousness of peace, love, and far-outedness, so to speak. 

It didn't take long for hubby and me to make the decision to come back. As much as there was to like about where we were, it fell short. We missed family, we missed sports, we missed "da Burgh" in a big way. Maryland was nice, but it wasn't home. After two years away, we came back to Pittsburgh and stayed here.

Next time: What I love about Pittsburgh and why I'd never move again...

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Moving to the Country...

Pittsburgh has been my home for most of my life, but for one short interlude thirty years ago, we moved to a small rural town in Western Maryland. My husband, Ron, was transferred there for his job.

I was young, in my 20's, newly married and a product of the time--more of a hippie than anything, but past the days of being a college student and now trained and ready to work as a secretary. My first surprise was to find that secretaries were not in demand in small rural communities. When I did finally find a job at a struggling manufacturing company, I was shocked to discover I became an instant celebrity. 

"Oh! You are Mr. S's secretary," people would say as though I'd drifted down to earth on a cloud of saintly vapors. 

Lesson #1 about small towns: You can be a very happy big fish in a small town. In Pittsburgh, I was one face in a humongous crowd of office workers. In Maryland I was somebody because only the most honored folks had jobs requiring office skills.

Lesson #2: Being married to an assistant manager in a small town makes people address you with respect. How shocked I was to be addressed as "Mrs. Janoski" when I walked into hubby's workplace. For a 23-year-old hippie who had no use for typical conventions, it was incomprehensible to be addressed like my husband's mother. 

A word about being young and of a liberal mind--It provided the impetus to absorb all this with equanimity, finding it interesting in use a modern term I hate..."multi-cultural"... sort of way. Instead of pushing away the differences, I looked forward to learning more.

What I found next was Lesson #3: People in small towns truly are the "salt of the earth." Hard-workers, good neighbors--people who say Hi and know everyone around them. Remember happy little Mayberry? Yep! There are lots of Mayberrys out there in this world.

Lesson #4:  From the hand of God in that I found His country, nestled in  mountains that seemed high enough to scrape against the sky. Scaling those heights were miles of trees, dancing trees that thrived in the clean air while being undisturbed by civilization. They were full; they were rich; they swayed and fan-danced on the hillsides...

Tomorrow, the down-side for a city girl plopped into the country.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lie Again

Heart jumps, palms wet, red face, small eyes dim,
Avoiding, suffering, disarming
Lie again, lie again, still again.

Mean, yell, scream, try it all, lie more, lie 
Viciously, relentless, forever
Lie always, know nothing, spit venom.

Sad, mad, no truth, no love, care no more,
Resenting, presenting endlessly
Betraying, beseeching loneliness.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Laugh (A Septet)

Laugh alone
Or laugh with someone
Propel giggles through blank air
Flying, sharing bright joy all around
Make a chorus of laughter
Lifting hearts, happy
Just for now


(A Septet--a poem of 7 lines
with syllables as follows:

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Monday, March 06, 2006

Vincent & Me

Vincent and Me... Posted by Picasa

I knew him totally, from the moment I first saw his frenzied expressions. The movement of dazzling colors jumped off the page and wrapped around me with music blaring and energy zapping my heart. I connected. He was there, in the colors, in the strokes, laying his soul bare for all the world to see.

I needed to know more, more about this complicated painter who let his mind loose to echo both his love and angst on canvas in frantic, thick strokes, strokes that seemed to break free of the brush and dash about like ants scattering.

I found copies of his earlier work, back when he was a religious man and preached to poor coal miners. His paintings of them are simple, black figures with bulbous features as blank as their rigorous lives. And yet, he saw their beauty, their grace. He put that elegance to canvas as he watched them work, eat, and live. The gentle heart of Vincent reached out and touched these poor souls in tattered clothing, people any of us might look away from in disdain--he saw their dignity.

Later, he took to colors on canvas to express that old, familiar longing. His palette copied fields and starry skies, friends and himself...even his bedroom, colorful and sturdy with furniture and a bed, and a personality of its own. The strokes are controlled, carefully taking their places to make a masterpiece of form and color. In later paintings, the strokes run wild in frenzied emotion to create unique masterpieces. In total, his works reveal a childish soul seeing life expressing itself in simple vistas and people.

He saw himself as well, painting startling self portraits that map the progress of his mania. At times the strokes take leave of their master and fly off the page as though it took all his sanity trying to contain them.

Vincent suffered from mental illness which chased the artful magic away, pushing him finally to the edge. His haunting self portraits document the path of his troubled mind until finally he took his own life at the young age of 37.

Copyright JO Janoski

Saturday, March 04, 2006

On Soft Feet (Annie)
...A nine-square poem

Soft smile blue eyes crowned in blond curls wild
Flowering uncontrolled playfulness
In bouquets of daisies so heartfelt.

She runs on soft feet through deep green grass
Gracefully, childishly scampering
In circles to impress her parents.

Dad lifts her high up to touch blue sky
Lovingly, patiently, peacefully
She giggles and wiggles, curls bouncing.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Monday, February 27, 2006

Good Times

You might have missed me blogging for the past week. My excuse is a good one--I have been working our Pittsburgh photo booth in an art show at Monroeville Mall. The shows are slow, and they provide a good atmosphere to settle in with my electronic keyboard and write.

While mulling away the hours, I marvelled at how our "show business" has changed over the years. When we first set up in this mall in 1976, the mall "powers that be," skittish I suppose, of the concept of exhibitors, did not provide electricity for us. This meant we rolled in a car battery on a dolly to hook up to for our lights. It sounds so primitive now!

It was a great era for malls in general. I can remember Saturday crowds being so thick, I would rather scratch out my eyeballs then try to move from Point A to Point B. It just took too long to push through the mob.

The crowds are thin now, as the Walmart effect draws customers to other places for discounted prices. Those loyalists who are left walk past my booth with cellphones stuck to their ears, oblivious to my wares. The impulse buys that are so vital to our sales are hard to come by these days. I guess those cellphone folks are "multi-tasking." Only they have no time these days for looking and buying, only walking and talking. 

I never would have dreamed in 1976 that I would see tattoos and body-piercing either--or shaved heads. Actually, in those days, my electronic keyboard would have been an oddity, and the very idea people owned their own computers would have blown me away. 

I'm certain I won't be here in 30 more years; but if I were, I wonder what amazing things I would see...

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Monday, February 20, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Nurse was 'hit with frozen fish'

Shucks! It looks like British hospitals have all the fun!

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Kent | Nurse was 'hit with frozen fish'

The following poem is a villanelle, a six stanza poem with a special rhyme scheme and repeated lines.


Tiny soft gray bird high in a tree
issuing songs like sun rays
Ringing chirps inspiring me.

A call of nature just meant for me
to see and hear of nature's ways
Tiny soft gray bird high in a tree

Rough brown bark of trees to see
caught in the fire of sunny rays
Ringing chirps inspiring me.

Green grass carpets, lush to see
Rainbows of flowers in nature's way
Tiny soft gray bird high in a tree

Soft sweet breezes whisper to me
as leaves rustle through the day
Ringing chirps inspiring me.

A brook composes a melody
while squirrels and chipmunks play
Tiny soft gray bird high in a tree
Ringing chirps inspiring me.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Poem about lingering winter...

* * * 


Winter sorrows lurk again
draping me in tight shadows.
Isolation by the fire...
drinking hot cocoa.

Ice and snow propelling me
inside where sun is denied.
Through the pane sun romances...
but I know better.

Outdoors reigns cold, while indoors
my heart is frozen in time,
stopped when summer departed...
leaving me undone.

Spring waiting to start again.
Fresh air breathed on nature's stage,
kaleidoscope of life's hues...
spinning round and round.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski