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Monday, December 27, 2010

Peggy Yancyniak --1959-1999

I decided to post the journal entries from 1987 about my time with a strip club dancer named Peggy Yacyniak. She became one of the inspirations for my novel "Dancer on the Sand." I only recently found out that she killed herself the day before Valentine's Day 1999.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hard to believe (poem)

Hoboken Artist tour: a poem by Sharon Lynn Griffiths

Friday, November 5, 2010

Death of a cat

My wife's favorite cat is dying.
This is more than just the death of a pet, but like a child or brother perishing, she has invested so much of herself into it.
Me, I'm so used to killing cats, I've become a feline grim reaper, sad at the experience, but bound to perform the ritual out of duty.
This is the second cat that has died on her -- or will die in a few minutes when I take it to the vet for extermination -- and so I know what to expect, the mourning that will take place, the loss of some part of her in the process, and the long, paintful grieving that will follow.
In some ways, this one will be worse because more than once she said this cat was the return of the first cat in spirit, and now this one has been taken from her as well.
The last cat died in midleap in the middle of the night when I happened to be awake due to an injured shoulder. I watch it jump and die in mid-air, and like a messenger of doom, I had to wake my wife to inform her of the loss.
Sometimes, I suspect she still holds the death against me, blaming the messager instead of the fates that brought it about.
Two nights ago -- while I was out late -- she came home to find the cat staggering in the bedroom, the apparent victim of a stroke. It recovered the next morning, but last night, when I was again out late, it took a significant turn for the worse. So this morning, I am bound to bring it to the vet where I fully believe I will need to put an end to its life.
My wife knew it, too, when I drove her to the path for work, lingering here for her last goodbyes even though it meant she would be late. She knows that when she comes home, the cat -- her special cat -- won't be here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I woke up this morning nearly as weary as I went to sleep -- too many pressing issues in too short a time. Things get better after elections when the winners celebrate and the losers hide to lick their wounds, nobody spinning me for this or that until the glow or the pain wears off.
I've barely had time for anything personal -- just the rack of wheels from this out of control media train that I keep expecting to end with a crash, some monumental event that will wake me out of my walking sleep the way 9/11 did.
Perhaps the tea party will actually be as monstrous an institution as most of us believe, although I think Americans -- like the good germans during the Nazi era -- are too numb to notice us headed in the wrong direction. People always talked about knee jerk liberals, well the shoe is on the other foot these days, and now we have knee jerk tea party jerks -- and that's a lot more dangerous.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The death of a cat

I called him Little Bit because he seemed so small when I took him in seven years ago. The runt of a litter from a feral mother who just kept having litters until the offspring were so weak they died at birth. The name changed as the cat grew and so he became Bitzski, and was hardly affectionate except when I sat down to watch TV, at which point, he climbed into my lap. He ate when he was supposed to eat, went to the toilet where he was supposed to, and stayed out of sight other times until Saturday afternoon when he started to cry, and I couldn't figure out why.
Taking him to the vet this morning, I was told he had a large tumor and would not survive. So Bitzski and I parted ways, he still crying as the drugs put him to a sleep from which he would never wake up.

sick cat

Each time one of my cats has become sick over the years, he or she always does it on a day when I can't get him or her to the vet right away.
Little Bit didn't come up to his usual perch for breakfast yesterday, but waited nearby so I thought he was merely upset about something. Later, in the afternoon, he cried out and spat up and became so lethargic I knew something was seriously wrong. I found him sprawled out on the kitchen floor this morning and I thought he was dead. But he stirred and cried out, and fortunately, the vet is open on sundays nowadays so I'm on my way there now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When the morning comes

dazed and confused

People are not supposed to walk around in a fog, confused about what direction life should take, where I am, what I've thought of as unchanging situations, none of it stable.
I spent the weekend walking beaches with one person while thinking of another, a bad sitution for someone whose life is dependably predictable.
Hormones drove me crazy as a kid. At 17, I was raging testosterone, running while, seeking something or someone to ease my pain, always stunned silent by sudden rain storms that blew into my world.
I'm full of gray doubts, wondering where I am and where I am going, and knowing that I want to do is different from what I ought to do.
I pretend I'm cool, calm and collective, when inside I'm not, sprirling around with thoughts I have no right to think.
What next?

Monday, October 11, 2010

back from the cape

The rain comes hours after I got back from Cape May, the rumble of thunder, the clatter of hail, telling me the warm season is coming to an end. I'm always lost in thought during this time of year, and this year, more than ever. I listen to the rain and shiver, trying to find warmth again.
Hours ago, I walked along a warm beach watching dolphins at play in the water, their glistening shapes alive and playful in the nearby waves. I wanted to run out into the water and lose myself in those ways, dancing among them, letting that moment of joy overwhelm me. Sometimes, you just have to let go of yourself to get somewhere

Friday, October 8, 2010

Exhausted again

Went to sleep late, got up early, a recipe for disaster on a day I need to get in copy early. Haunted by stuff, I guess, too much thinking, too much trying to figure things out that can't be figured out, locked into a cycle that desined only to drive myself crazy. I think I need to get drunk. Maybe later. What I need now is coffee and someone to kick me out my front door so I can get to work

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

the unintended

You don't intend for things to happen, but they do. You meet new people that change your life, and you know your life has changed, but you don't know where it will go or how different the world will be as a result. You just go for the ride and see where you end up, hoping that you don't lose yourself along the way.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

God visiting Liberty State Park

Breaking out blankets

The cold came like a sharp slap in the middle of the night. I had to scramble for blankets I should have broken out during the night. I'm never prepared for winter. It usually falls on me like the side of a mountain, shaking me awake with its rumble and crash.
I don't hate the season until later when it wears out its welcome and won't go away, but I don't love it either. We sort of live for months like begruding bed fellows, each of us nudging the other for more room.

Friday, October 1, 2010

rain pounding on my window

The power went off early in the morning. I wouldn't have noticed until the alarm failed to go off, but the rain pounded so hard on the windows, I woke and noticed the dark. I had to use my cell phone as a flash light to get to the toilet. From there on, it was a shot in the dark.
Life is very fragile. As much as we think civilization is solid, a gust of wind and a heavy downpour can wash it all away. I ache for Walden's Pond and ample firewood, and light enough to read a good book.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NPR and the Passaic River

NPR was supposed to do a series on the Passaic River. As a former river rat, I wrote alot about the river, but I'm not sure the radio station will use any of it. But I am motivated to polish up the pieces and go off to take more pictures of the place -- maybe even piggyback off the series to do a book.