Garbled Mess

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2012


                  Today, I learned headlines

                                                   cut razor deep

                   I bleed confusion. 

                                                               Words won't form easily. 

                                                                                 They're g a r b l e d mess

                                                                                                                behind ribs.  

                                                   Can we talk about this?

                             Can we stop SCREAMING?

                                                                            I am not Republican


                   Liberal                       Conservative                          Christian                      Muslim

                I am not gun owner

                                                           I am not gun control

                                                                  I am human


                                                                                  I am  b    o     e
                                                                                              r    k     n


                                                                                            I ask

                                                             can we all be human

                                                                      for a moment?

                                                                                                              One moment

                                                                                         for a lifetime of moments

                                                                                                       innocence lost



"Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, and yet, as if nature had not sown evils enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another." 
~Joseph Addison

The New York Post & the Real Questions We Should Be Asking

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, December 05, 2012


New York Post
During my university days, I sat as the news editor of The Keystone, Kutztown University's campus paper, for a semester. Multiple challenges arose. Long hours of layout and editing of articles that seemed to be written by 8th graders took their toll. But those issues were minuscule.

The first few issues of The Keystone to come out that semester included articles on the death of multiple students. I was reminded of one of the articles in particular following the New York Post's article and front-page photo on the subway death of Queens resident Ki-Suck Han. A student had been walking along Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks, presumably, intoxicated. We ran the article accompanied by a photo of a Norfolk-Southern train running down the tracks. It was our front-page story.

After the issue came out, our supervisor questioned the use of the photo used. Why hadn't we gotten a photo of the student? Why hadn't we gotten a photo of where the accident took place? This is just a stock photo of a train. 

Yes. It was, simply, a stock photo of a Norfolk-Southern engine. Personally, I felt it would compliment the story better than a photo of empty tracks where the accident took place. The photo of the victim was unavailable at the time, so we couldn't run it. As the news editor, I felt the way we presented the article was in decent taste and that the photo we used was sufficient.

When I saw the New York Post's front page photo accompanied by the headline "DOOMED" and the  blurb pictured above, I was unsure of how I felt. Certainly, this was a tragedy but what questions does it raise journalistically? Morally? The internet has exploded with commentary aimed at both the New York Post for printing it and the photographer, R. Umar Abbasi, for snapping photos instead of helping Han escape his terrible fate. There are bigger issues to think about than the actions of both, though.

Is the New York Post's cover page in bad taste? That goes without saying. But how many people really expect journalistic integrity and high moral values from the New York Post? The Post is known for its bombastic headlines and tabloid stories. It's a sensationalist paper that caters to the human obsessions of violence and tragedy. Murdoch and Co. knew exactly what they were doing when they printed the photo and headline. And everyone, including myself by writing this article, fell into it.

Instead of examining the Post and shaming them for doing what the Post does best without shame, we should turn the tables and examine ourselves. Why is it that this photo of a helpless, NYC resident, seconds away from his death, evoke so much anger and emotion while the stories and photos of the dead in warring nations go almost unnoticed by the public at large almost every day? 

Yesterday, amid all the fervor of the subway article and blaming Abbasi for not "doing enough", "Syrian rebels kill 9 students in attack on school near Damascus" was one of the many headlines hitting news. "Typhoon Kills Hundreds in Philippines" ran today at The New York Times

Over the past few years, we've seen video of Saddam Hussein put to death by hanging, Muammar Gaddafi executed and his corpse paraded through the streets, countless stories of innocent people killed among war-time gunfire by all sides, tsunamis devastating sea-side civilizations. The list goes on. Plenty of graphic media portrayed through countless outlets. It all goes largely unquestioned. And how many ask, "What can be done to stop it? How could we or how can we help?"

It's not easy for Americans to identify with those issues, though. And when we see a reported "bad man" put to death, we accept it no matter how gruesome or barbaric it is. Flip the switch. Imagine, for a moment, if a sitting president were executed by rebels here in the states. Imagine those rebels strung his body up or paraded it through the streets, desecrating it every chance they got. 

Or, just think of Ki-Suck Han. How many of us have been on a subway platform? How many of us have relatives or loved ones who use the subway? It's easy to identify with. It's easier to imagine yourself on a NYC subway platform than it is to imagine yourself ducking for cover amid spraying bullets and firebombs in Syria. Maybe we should try harder to put ourselves in those shoes, though.

Fingers are currently being pointed at Abbasi for doing nothing but documenting the tragedy that unfolded before him. He could have / should have done more! Abbasi has become an easy target. Could he have done more? Maybe. How have the rest of those present on the platform avoided scorn, though? Was Abbasi the only one who could have helped? Certainly not. Anyone on that platform could have done more than they did, but didn't. In reality, whether or not you believe Abbasi's claim that he was using his flash to attract the attention of the conductor or not, he seems to be the only one who did anything.

Hindsight is 20/20. All of us, at one time, have witnessed an accident and have said something to the effect of, "Well, so and so should have done this and that," or, "I would have done more." However, no one can assert these claims without being thrust into the situation. What you say you would do in any given situation will differ greatly from your actual actions. Was Han's death an unfortunate result of the Genovese syndrome, or did the tragedy simply unfold so quickly that no one, including Abbasi, have the time necessary to process what was happening? 

In the end only one fact remains: Han's death was an unfortunate tragedy. Sitting around computers raging at the New York Post or Abbasi will do nothing besides sell more attention to Murdoch's bloody pages. This is what the Post wants. Instead, let's focus on the bigger issues. Let's ponder why the Post, and media outlets like it, can turn an easy profit off of a tragedy like this. Let's discuss the increasing use of sensationalism in media and the fall of actual, journalistic merit. And let's not allow Han's death pass without a possible discussion on how to make subways safer for the public.

Despite the crass front page of the New York Post, let's try to move away from calling slime slime and move towards a productive, public discourse. Let's turn the mad voices down and turn the reasoning up. There are terrible tragedies that occur every day. Let the tabloids do what they will with them and let humanity try to improve our lot.

“The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money.”
A. J. Liebling


"Passerine" published in Full of Crow

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Recently, my new poem, entitled "Passerine", was accepted for publication in the October 2012 issue of Full of Crow Poetry. Full of Crow Poetry is edited by Lynn Alexander who I had the pleasure of receiving a personal correspondence from after submitting. Lynn collects and eclectic mix of poetry from all over the world for Full of Crow Poetry and you can check out the rest of the submissions, as well as mine, at this link: Full of Crow Poetry October 2012

For information about submissions, visit the Full of Crow submission page here.

We are looking for content that is bold and unapologetic,
 presented in thoughtful and purposeful ways. We like work 
that touches on the surreal, the mythic… enduring themes 
and images that are rooted in something deeply personal
 but connect to something transcending and universal. 
As many editors say, we know what it is when we see it.
~Full of Crow staff


For more of my published work, visit my 'published work' page.


Recap: Breaking Ground Poets @ the Vintage Theater

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012


There's a storm blowin' in. Sometime. At least that's what they say. I'm not particularly worried, though. I've weathered the storms before. All kinds of them. Some of them worse than others. They say this one is a big one. Panic and scrambling people clearing the shelves of milk and eggs. All I grabbed this morning was some coffee and tea.

The weekend was long. Incredible, but long. Full of surprises and poetic beauty. On Saturday night, the Breaking Ground Poets, led by Tunkhannock Area teacher Katie Wisnosky, held their first poetry slam of the season. I had been invited to be a judge in the event. I was, to say the least, blown away.

Lauren Zuniga @ the Vintage Theater
The Vintage Theater in down town Scranton was packed. It was a a sight to behold on a Saturday night to see so many people out supporting poetry when they could have been at any number of Halloween parties and gatherings. 

Lauren Zuniga, a nationally touring poet and teaching artist, opened the night with a half hour performance. Zuniga moved effortlessly from piece to piece, delivering her words with beautiful sincerity. For the remainder of the night, she MC'd the event introducing the student poets while interacting with the crowd and keeping the momentum going.

What can I say about the students? It's difficult to come up with the words. Judging them was no easy task, either. All of the poets ranged in age from 16 to 18. The imagery and delivery of their work was simply impressive. Those students stepped onto the stage, ripped open their chests, and poured out everything beating against their ribs. We all ate it up and were belly-full by the end of the night.

Lauren Zuniga and the Breaking Ground Poets
Now I find myself a bit nervous. Nervous to step into a room with some of these students and lead a workshop. Nervous to partake in the next slam where the students will take on the adults. Somehow, I've been roped in to competing against them. I've got to sharpen that dagger pencil and scrawl something impressive because these students aren't going to go down easy. They've got fight. They've got heart. And none of them are afraid to use it. To bare it all. I commend them. 

Nervous or not, I'm excited to work with them. I'm excited that something like this is taking place with the youth in Tunkhannock and all around the area. Kids excited about poetry? Who would have thought. Much respect to Katie Wisnosky for pushing forward and on to make this happen.

And here's to the students. In the wake of the storm, I sit here contemplating my own words. They've inspired my own thoughts and I can feel my own words beating and pounding on my ribs. They need out. Where's my typer...

Mourdock's Divinely Ordained Silver Lining to Rape

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Richard Mourdock (R)
“I just struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize: Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen." 
~Richard Mourdock (R-Indiana)

After reading this quote from Republican Treasurer of Indiana, Richard Mourdock, and watching the accompanying video of these exact words leaving Mourdock's mouth, I still couldn't believe it. Multiple times I checked the site address to confirm I hadn't stumbled on to The Onion. 

But it shouldn't surprise me. After Todd Akin's (R-Missouri) "legitimate rape" comment where he endowed the human vagina with, apparently, magical powers to differentiate between rape sperm and consensual sperm, I should expect anything from the mouths of politicians.

What really got to me this morning was reading Texas Senator John Cornyn's support of Mourdock and his biblical pandering. Coryn is the chairman of the Senate Republicans.

“Richard and I, along with millions of Americans — including even Joe Donnelly — believe that life is a gift from God. To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous. In fact, rather than condemning him for his position, as some in his party have when it’s come to Republicans, I commend Congressman Donnelly for his support of life.”

Many have blasted Mourdock, rightfully, for what he's said and have accused him of suggesting that God ordains rape to bring about life. Mourdock stated in a post-debate interview:

"God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick.”
This is the problem with inserting personal, religious beliefs into politics. Mourdock says God does not ordain rape, but he ordains the pregnancy that may occur from it? Where does he pull this twisted logic from? It's certainly from somewhere much lower than his mind and lower yet than his heart.

Let's assume Mourdock didn't mean to insinuate that God pre-ordains rape. We're still left with the blatant disregard for women's rights and the interjection of religious beliefs into Mourdock's political intentions. Mourdock has every right to believe whatever spiritual or religious beliefs he wants, but he has no right to impose those beliefs on a country where not every individual, let alone every woman, share them.

And politicians like Cornyn support this kind of backward thinking? Since when? Coryn and the rest of the Republican party threw Akin under the bus for his "legitimate rape" comment earlier in the year but, now, the Senate Republicans are reconsidering their position on even this. Why?

Akin and Mourdock are both candidates in some of the closest election races this year (Akin for the House and Mourdock for the Senate). During one of the most polarized elections the country has ever witnessed, support for these two is bolstered by their party regardless of how absolutely asinine their positions may be. Why are the Republicans backing Mourdock and now rethinking their position on Akin? Because they can't afford to lose. They don't want to lose. And they'll sacrifice anything to gain the seats.

Absurd and sick, Mr. Mourdock? What is absurd and sick are your antique and ridiculous comments. Don't try to spin and pin the shame on Democrats or anyone else for your actions. What you said was loud and clear. Own it. Or, next time, just keep your mouth shut.

And since you'd like to invoke your God's plan, I'd suggest a reread of 1 Corinthians 2:11.


My Alma Mater Breaks Ground with Poetry

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012


Truly incredible teachers sometimes seem hard to come by. At least for me, they did. I always admired and respected those who broke away from the norm. Those who challenged me. Who made me think. I didn't want to do anything for teachers who seemed like they didn't want to do anything for me. 

A teacher should have the same drive as writers. They shouldn't teach because they want to, they should do it because they have to. They should have that drive and urge to foster true education and exploration.

I had some great teachers at Tunkhannock high school. I can still remember some lessons they taught like they were yesterday. That was (almost) ten years ago. Time has passed. But one thing hasn't changed. There are still incredible teachers back in my hometown doing things I never thought would be done in Tunkhannock.

Katie Wisnosky, who I had the pleasure of hearing read some of her own work at the last Prose in Pubs event in Scranton, teaches in the English department at Tunkhannock area high school. And of all things for her to bring to Tunkhannock, she's brought poetry. If you know Tunkhannock, poetry is probably the last thing you'd associate the town with. And that's exactly why it needs to be there.

Katie has started a group called the "Breaking Ground Poets", a rather appropriate name considering the booming business of drilling in the area and Katie's determination to build such a group where others would find even the idea daunting. Katie describes the groups in her own words:

The Breaking Ground Poets’ mission is to inspire, foster, and promote artistic expression, personal growth, and social justice for youth in our collective communities through the use of the spoken and written word.
Our goal is to engage young people in workshops, events, and mentorship across Northeast Pennsylvania.
Although we are a new organization, our goal this year is to develop and foster young people’s capacity in creative writing, public speaking, emotional literacy, and civic engagement. We will use the transformative power of storytelling and each individual’s voice to help build a stronger community of teenage writers.

Katie has recently launched a campaign to bring Lauren Zuniga, a nationally touring poet and activist, to Tunkhannock area high school for a day of workshops followed by a poetry slam featuring the students. 

It's been ten years since I've walked the halls of Tunkhannock high and in those ten years the town and surrounding area has gone through major changes. Some good, some bad. But here is a change that I can only describe as incredibly inspiring. I only wish I could be back in school to experience it. Luckily I've been invited to participate.

Needless to say, Katie's idea comes with a cost and she's set up a fundraising site at which you can find here

This is an incredible opportunity for the students at Tunkhannock high. In a country where the arts are being left behind in our educational system, funding projects like this is absolutely essential to our youth. It's uplifting to see educators who will go beyond what their job requires of them on paper and truly reach for higher goals. To feed the creative minds of youth. 

I'm hoping that the Breaking Ground Poets can reach their goal and I'm going to do everything in my power to make that happen. So, if you can, please donate to the cause. If you cannot, please spread the word. It costs nothing to pass on information. 

Thanks to everyone out there who helps in any way.


Donate and spread the word:

Lauren Zuniga's site:

Review: "We Are Taking Only What We Need"

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Scranton was in for a storm. An intense one, by all reports. The skies darkened their ugly, menacing grays and blacks. The rain fell at angles in sheets while trees bent against the wind, their leaves flipping up and down flashing shades of dark then light green.

Then, as soon as it began, it was over. There were no tornadoes. No fallen trees. The power hadn't even gone out. Just flickered a few times like a hiccup. The ravaging storm that the weathermen had predicted turned into a temper tantrum. It came close, but fell just a bit short.

Out I ventured. After learning of the planned open mic cancellation, I made my way to the Radisson hotel where author Stephanie Powell Watts was to read for a Pages and Places event. One Jack-and-Coke, a comfortable chair, and a few moments later, Watts took her place at the podium.

Watts read the first in her debut collection of short stories We Are Taking Only What We Need titled "Family Museum of the Ancient Postcards". Despite the chilly room and the minor microphone problems, Watts managed to engage the crowd with a great reading. Afterwards, she spoke a bit about her writing process and the completion of the collection.

Watts takes time to develop her stories and the characters within. She commented, during her reading, that "Family Museum of the Ancient Postcards", a 23-page story, took almost three years to finalize. Her process of writing is slow, by her accounts, and it's reflected within these stories in a good way. There's thought here. There's a carefully crafted image. 

Southern writer. It's a title, as Watts explains, she tries not to think about while writing. It is a title for publishers, librarians, and people like me to use when describing her work. Southern writer is a title that fits, but only superficially. Her writing goes beyond the borders of the Mason-Dixon line.

This debut collection was a PEN Hemingway Award finalist and contains the short "Unassigned Territory" which won the Pushcart Prize. Many of the stories have been featured in well-known short story anthologies. And it's no wonder why.

The stories contained within We Are Taking Only What We Need focus on a rural setting that is most certainly intimately familiar to Watts. Criss-crossing, dusty back roads dotted by houses every few miles. The hardened lives and the people who live them. These stories focus on the lost and found. Not material, but mental and emotional.

Like the storm that threatened Scranton, though, there are a few things that make We Are Taking Only What We Need fall just short of what it could have been. However, I don't believe it's much of Watts's fault as it is poor editing.

Throughout the book there are errors. Glaringly obvious errors that should have never made it past an editor. Anyone who reads knows that an awkward phrase, misspelled word, or errant punctuation can completely pull you from a story. I know it does for me. It's a shame that, because of a lackluster editor, an author's work should suffer, but it does.

I also feel that a truly good editor, or publisher, would have ordered the stories differently. This, I noticed, with the first two shorts. Both began with a character just being released from jail. It's not a bad thing to start multiple stories in a similar fashion or with similar events, but to place them one after the other in such a small collection of shorts becomes detrimental, in my opinion. It can make the writing seem redundant even when it's not the case.

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to be finding slack editing in contemporary publications more and more. Maybe it's a sign of the times. Whatever it is, I hope it stops. I hope editors begin taking their jobs seriously and realizing just how important they are when it comes to a final product.

Despite the editing problems, We Are Taking Only What We Need is an incredible read. Watts writes with beautiful description. I can see the snaking dirt roads and taste the dust. I can feel these characters' emotions. The tension and moments of clarity. Watts has a tendency, in these stories, to bring you from a wide, breathtaking view of your surroundings and focus you in tighter and tighter until the very end where she opens the chest of her characters and lets their entire being pour out.

Pick it up and read it. My hopes, for this particular collection, are for better editing in a second printing. Fix the errors. Order the stories a bit better. But, until then, you'll have to read this version. And it's worth it.



Between the Words

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Caravaggio's St. Jerome
There's a space between the words. A brief moment where you breathe. And for a split second, everything is still. Everything is clear. I spend every day trying to capture that moment. To live in it. I haven't been successful just yet.

Sometimes I feel like my words are as light as bird bones. Like they'll slip from between my lips and float off into the sky without ever landing on the ears I wish they would. There have been too many times the words I speak aren't the words you hear.

Other times everything that spills from my mouth is lead-heavy and falls to the pavement below. Just stays there. This might be because I can't look people in the eyes. And that might be because I look away every time things fall apart around me.

Everything has been in some state of disarray for so long, I'm not sure what the words whole and complete really mean. I keep thinking I find the definitions written in dust, but the winds always blow the wrong way. I swear I hear them laugh every time.

All this will sound like the ravings of a lunatic to most. Some will get it. Some will know how it feels to be driving down the highway at 65mph wishing you weren't the only one in the car singing like a madman to your favorite tunes.  Some will know the feeling of an empty bar-stool next to you. How the curves of a bottle are the most familiar.

A friend asked me a few days ago, "Where do you want to be?" I didn't know how to answer. There are places I want to be that I don't think I'll ever see. There are places I want to be that I only get a taste of.

The space between words. That moment where I breathe and everything becomes still. Peaceful. The portion of the Lacrimosa dies illa in Mozart's requiem where that one angelic voice rises above the rest of the chorus as Mozart's last breath rolls forward from the composition. The space between light and dark of Caravaggio's work. That's where I want to be.


The Fall of an Empire

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012


By Jim Prisching, AP
"The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims...Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University -- President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno -- failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade." (Freeh 14)

These are some of the opening lines of the 267-page Freeh report that outlines the history and magnitude of the child abuse perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State. Abuse that was, as the report outlines in incredible detail, enabled by the inaction of university leaders in an effort to keep the face of Penn State clean.

I read the report. Every detail. With every page, my stomach tied into knots. (download it here)

There's no justification for it. Any of it. Paterno, Spanier, Schultz, and Curly are, in my opinion, just as responsible for the ruined lives of the victims as Sandusky. While none of these men perpetrated the physical crimes, they did nothing to stop them either. They chose, instead, to bury the actions of Sandusky to avoid tarnishing the reputation of Penn State and the PSU football program. And they denied it. No longer. The Freeh report has exposed their true colors.
Yet some people continue to support Joe Paterno and his football empire. Why? Why should any of these other men avoid blame for what they've done? True, Paterno has since passed away, but that doesn't negate his utter incompetence concerning the abuse and how Sandusky was, or wasn't, dealt with.

It is this blind praise that borders on worship which allowed these abuses to happen in the first place. Paterno was not, and never will be, an untouchable god. He was a football coach and he is responsible, along with Spanier, Schultz, and Curly, for allowing a sexual predator to continue abusing children on campus grounds for over a decade, as the report outlines.

How can anyone review the evidence, see the lives ruined and devastated by these crimes, and then say, "Well, yeah. But he did a lot of good for the university," or, "But he was one of the greatest coaches that ever lived."

It doesn't matter. His good deeds do not change the fact that children's lives were ruined. That he, along with other high members of the PSU regime, turned a blind eye to a child molester to avoid bad publicity. The rights and well being of children took a back seat to everything else.

Is this what we've come to? Elevating sports above morality and child safety? Why do we grant individuals, like Paterno or Sandusky, an "untouchable" status?

Let's look at it this way.

Mr. X is a man of somewhat high standing in a community. He's not the most well known or important figure in the community, but people know him. He does, however, work alongside the community's most respected and adored figure, Mr. Y.

Years ago, Mr. Y had planned and set up funds to create a recreational park for the community. Mr. X, to gain notoriety and good standing with the community, has decided he wants to fund a playground for children in a section of the park. He does this under the good graces and support of Mr. Y.

Now, being the man of importance he is, Mr. Y has an assistant. One night, while walking through the park and checking on the general goings-on, Mr. Y's assistant observes Mr. X molesting a child in the new playground. No one else is around. The assistant is the only one to see this.

Immediately, the assistant goes to Mr. Y to report what he's seen. Although Mr. Y shows concern, he is worried about the possibility that any media coverage of the incident may not only make his park look unsafe, but it may make him look bad as well. Instead of alerting the proper authorities, Mr. Y decides to have a talk with Mr. X about the situation.

After the talk with Mr. X, Mr. Y puts the incident behind him and assures his assistant that everything has been taken care of. But it hasn't. Mr. X continues to molest children at the park. He continues for years. Mr. Y hears rumors. He knows it's happened before, but he does little to nothing to stop it or alert the proper authorities.

Now, ask yourself this. Is Mr. Y guilty of any wrong-doing, or does his standing in the community and what he's done for it purge him of any fault? Although he didn't commit the actual crime, doesn't he have a moral obligation to do anything possible within the law to prevent it? Should his concerns be about the children or his public image?

Spanier, Schultz, and Curly deserve nothing from PSU. They, along with coach Paterno, let their community, the institution, the students, and, most importantly, the victims of Sandusky's crimes down. They allowed a sexual predator to roam free amongst them. They deserve no pity. They deserve no leniency. They are, for all intensive purposes, as responsible for these crimes as Sandusky.

As Sandusky sits in a cell awaiting the inevitable 300+ year sentence, he's thinking. He's retracing every event and every memory. At one time during a meeting with one of the victim's mother, Sandusky commented that he, "wished he were dead." I can only imagine that wish burning a hole right through him at this moment.

But while Sandusky is sitting in a cell pondering the expansive amount of time he'll be locked away and the almost certain notion that he'll die enclosed withing cinder block walls, we should all be thinking, too. We should be examining this incident and those like it perpetrated through the Church and other organizations.

Children's rights and safety should never be pushed to the wayside. And we as a society have a moral obligation to obliterate any possibilities of that happening. We must not grant any individual leniency because of their position or standing in a community.


Finding treasure in the slow hours

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Work days have been slow. Excruciatingly so. I've found myself reading random snippets of news. Searching unknown poets. Researching odd topics. Today, I found myself reading children's stories from an old book on Google books.

I've never got into "creating" found poetry. To me, found poetry just seems to be the art of extreme editing rather than writing. Chopping away every ounce of fat from the words of previous writers to boil down the story into a pure, concise form. For this, though, it seems useful. One thing I've always had trouble with, and I'm sure most writers do, is knowing when to cut the fat from your work. Our words are our children and butchering them is never easy.

Below are a few "found" poems from the day's boredom.

Wolf and Lamb

Wolf lapping
running brook,
stray Lamb

seize her,
he bethought
how he
might justify

said he.
“you muddle

water runs
from you
to me

“you called me
ill names”

a year ago,
I was not

“that is all
the same;
it's no use
to argue”

he fell upon
helpless Lamb
tore her
to pieces

Two Packs

every man
two packs

one in front,
one behind
full of faults

front holds
people's faults

his own

men do not see
their own

but very clearly
the faults
of others
Lion in Love

Lion in love
with Woodman's
wanted to marry

begged him
to give
the maid

Woodman could
not think
of such a thing

Lion roar furiously,
and father, in great fright,
bethought a way

I cannot give
my daughter
unless you first
have your teeth
& nails drawn

in love,
he consented

when it was
all over, asked again
for the girl

Woodman, no
longer any fear,
drove him off
with jeers


Each of these were extracted from stories in an 1881 printing of The Children's Book: A Collection of the Best and Most Famous Stories and Poems. I found it here on Google books. I'm not sure how often I'd venture into the "found" poetry practice, but it helped to pass some time and make me consider editing and word choice.

I'd suggest trying it if you're a writer. You may find it helpful or, at the very least, entertaining. Share some found poetry in the comments section if you'd like. See what you can come up with.


Original Prints by D.R. Wilsey Jr.

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, July 05, 2012


As some of you may know, especially if you keep up with this blog or are acquainted with me personally, you know that I dabble in photography. I've displayed in a few galleries and have had some people ask me about prints for sale. Well, now is the time and the chance for that.

I'm going to start offering a different print every so often. These prints will be limited in numbers and once they have sold out, they will not be offered again. Ever. The only way you'd get to see one if you don't buy one is to come view my copy hanging on the wall. Prints will be signed, numbered, and shipped by me personally. They will come printed on quality photo paper and shipped with care.

The first print I'm going to offer is one that many people have loved when they see it called "Alley at Night". This photo was taken during a quick trip to Tunkhannock, PA for the purpose of catching a sunset over the Susquehanna river valley. When that didn't work out, I began wandering around town.

I came to one of the more interesting buildings in town, the Dietrich Theater. I began snapping shots of the theater as the sun set and the neon began glowing. As I began to walk away, I noticed the alley right next to the Dietrich. At any other time during the day, the alley would be a boring, normal alley. But, in the new darkness of the evening, the exit lamp above the door at the end of the alley breathed life into the bricks. The color was perfect and the shot was too good to pass up.

"Alley at Night" © Dale Wilsey Jr. (Click for larger image)

20 x 30 print - $80 + shipping
12 x 18 prints - $30 + shipping

Email me directly to order:

Please include your name, address, and size
of the print you'd like to order. Prints available
while supplies last.
"Alley at Night" will be limited to 
80 20x30 prints and 100 12x18 prints.
Paypal accepted and preferred.

Thanks in advance to anyone who purchases a print.


New words and slide blues

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, June 23, 2012


There's been an absence of words here, but they're spilling out all over my desk. The floor. Pages and scraps of paper. I've begun work on a poetry manuscript. I've been revising old work and starting new. The season is new. The weather is new. My energy and mind are refreshed.

Busy days. Incredible nights. Weekends are always full of something. This weekend, Prose in Pubs swings back around to Jack's Draft House in Scranton on Sunday. Open mic. The first time it has gone non-invitation. It should be an interesting lineup. I'll be reading some new work. Stop on by.

The manuscript is coming along slowly but surely. It will be some time before I have a rough draft completed and probably some time after that until it is finalized and ready to send out. Then I'll find out that it is not yet finalized. Edit, submit, edit, submit. These are the hurdles of writing.

I've picked up my guitar again. Bought a glass slide to try and mimic Bukka White. It's coming along even slower than the manuscript, but it's a release of energy and creativity. It's needed when I cannot form the words. What better way to clear the mind by making music. Or noise. Sometimes I just like to strum and croon along with the old blues masters.

I've been tumbling some ideas for blog entries around my mind, so bare with me. Be patient. Not that you've been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting in anticipation for me. Maybe you have. I'd like to think you have.

Time to fill the apartment with music and the scent of whatever I feel like cooking. Until next time...

The right to rights

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Sunday, June 03, 2012


In early May, president Obama publicly voiced his support of gay marriage and the rights of gay Americans. This has obviously been met with backlash from the (religious) Right and supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act, which attempts to define marriage as that between a man and a woman and deny rights to gay couples under the guise of preserving the "sanctity of marriage".

When you boil it down, DOMA is nothing more than an unconstitutional law conjured into existence to pacify the Right and, more specifically, the religious Right. DOMA is, for all intensive purposes, no different and no less discriminatory than Jim Crow laws [sic] of yesteryear. 

The unconstitutionality of DOMA has finally been recognized by a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Whether the decision was made easier by the president's public support of gay rights and his refusal to enforce DOMA or not, this is a step in the right direction.

The court's ruling will undoubtedly head to the Supreme Court. My question is, simply, why?  Why are gay rights even a question in this country? We've been through this argument of discrimination and equal rights far too many times. To deny any American their rights is a step in the wrong direction. This is why the 14th amendment was drafted and passed. In case you're a bit rusty on your Constitutional knowledge, Section 1 of the 14th amendment states:

...No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Rest assured there will be those who point fingers and scream about the president and any politician who support gay rights and marriage trampling on the Constitution without actually acknowledging what is written within the document. (Hint: The constitution does not define "marriage" as between a man and a woman.)

Most of those fingers will be pointed from behind the pulpit and screamed between recitations of Leviticus 20:13 and various other Bible verses. This is not an attack on the religious but, I challenge you to prove me wrong, what other reasons are there to deny gay rights and marriage besides those of the religious Right? There are no reasons based in law or constitutionality that should prohibit this country from providing equal rights to the GLTB community.

Every argument spewed forth by supporters of DOMA and "traditional" marriage has been nothing but bunk and hysteria. From Bristol Palin's ironic assertion that "we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview," (source) to the incredibly moronic and baseless argument that interspecies marriages would result from granting gays the right to marry.

There is no logical reason to continue to deny a portion of our citizens their rights. The suppression of gay rights and marriage is nothing more than blatant, unconstitutional discrimination perpetuated by the religious lobby, alarmists, and extremists.

It's time the "pick and choose" view of right and wrong be exposed for what it really is. If the Right wants to point toward the constitution to uphold their rights to bear arms, then they must also point to the 14th amendment to guarantee the rights of all citizens. And, if the religious portion of this nation wants to point toward Leviticus to deny gay citizens their rights, then they must also point to Mark 10:9, Matthew 19:9, and any other verses pertaining to divorce and the "sanctity" of marriage.

If we are to truly honor the Constitution and what the founders of this nation set forth to grant its peoples, we mustn't deny any rights to any citizen. We cannot allow our laws to be filtered through a biblical sieve. We must remember the Declaration of Independence and its resounding call for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That statement has, and will continue to be, the basis of this country's true greatness. However some may try to mar and tarnish it, we must continue to uphold that one perfect and pure idea.

We are all human. And as such, we are all entitled to happiness, love, and life. To deny anyone these rights is, truly, un-American. Who's really trampling the Constitution, then?

I'll leave you with an incredible performance from Andrea Gibson, poet and activist:

The Distance of Limbs

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Copyright Diana Markosian (source)
The Distance of Limbs

Couples must meet in public
and sit a distance from one another.
Physical contact is forbidden before marriage.
This is what I'm told. That, in Chechnya,
the touch of flesh must remain as
patient as reaching limbs.

Some may believe distance is frigid.
A frozen tundra of want between lips.
Icy sea distancing hands.
But cold is never near when
flames flicker and dance.
When roots of hearts spread.

Chechen girls who engage in
"illicit relations"
are considered to have loose morals.
This often will lead to an honor killing,
a tradition publicly supported
by Chechen government.

We fire words like bullets at loose morals.
The only injuries we incur are
broken hearts or wounded pride.
How many are afraid to risk even those.
In Chechnya, a woman's lips
mark her for death.

Yet, in the crackling heat of distance,
all thoughts of consequences burn away.
Reaching branches grow
across the void, defiant of an end.
The heart takes root;

Lovers become
than soldiers.

~Dale Wilsey Jr.                                                  


There's a blog I follow from called The Big Picture. It features hi-res photos from around the world on varying subjects and events in human life. Their most recent photo essay "chronicles the lives of young Muslim girls who witnessed the horrors of two wars and are now coming of age in a republic that is rapidly redefining itself as a Muslim state...The attitude towards women becomes more conservative and tradition-based. Females are considered submissive and are expected to act demurely in the presence of men."

The photos, taken by photojournalist Diana Markosian, portray the subject in such a strikingly beautiful way, it's impossible not to be moved. Many of them have inspired me to scrawl down my reaction in any words I could muster. Some are difficult to find any words for, such as the photo of Chechen poet Ruslan Akhtkhanov's family mourning his death. Akhtkhanov was shot down in Moscow for his anti-seperatist views.

Ruslan Akhtkhanov's family mourn his death. Copyright Diana Markosian.

It's easy to ignore problems facing the rest of the world. And maybe some of us would rather not know that in some countries women are kidnapped and forced into marriage. Or that some are murdered by their own family for the crime of love to protect "honor". Ignorance can truly be bliss, but it's still ignorance.

The next time you clasp hands, kiss, or even hug the one you love, remember that, in places like Chechnya, simple gestures of love, or even to support the freedom to love and equality, could mark you for death.

The rest of Diana Markosian's photos can be found here: The Big Picture: Young women in Chechnya

Smoke skies and moonshine

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2012


The jack-hammering tones of an air gun rattle through the shop just outside my office. Buddy Guy's licks flow from my computer speakers like a fine scotch. I've got a truckload of thoughts rolling down endless expanses of highway carved through my mind. Outside, it's a chilly, wet April day. Smoke-colored skies.

This morning, I woke up and sat down in front of the typer for the first time in what seems like years. The early hours, following what little sleep I seem to find these days, have become a window of inspiration. Words drip onto the page mimicking the coffee pot steaming in the kitchen. Eventually, the page and my cup are full.

I spend a brief time on our second-floor balcony most mornings. Every time I open the door to step out, I'm reminded of the need of a good chair to lounge in and soak up the morning sun while I let my thoughts pour out.

The itch. The need to write has embedded itself within me again. It's not that I was worried about losing it. It seems as though any writer finds themselves less than inspired from time to time. Or maybe we let our thoughts brew like moonshine through a still until they're pure. Whatever the case, the cask is full again.

Soon, I'll spend time wandering through the park in the fading light of dusk. These late-night work hours are coming to an end. I've got more important things to have running through my mind than the constant rattles and blasts of air tools and belching engine brakes.

One thought in particular has been filling me with warmth and peace. Every morning on the balcony, I can still picture her standing beneath the light leaning against the door. Smoke curling from between her lips. The soft look in her eyes and the elegant curve of her smile.

It's a photograph etched in my memory. One that I'm hoping is a glimpse of what lies ahead.

Tonight, I'll turn the key to my tiny pickup and drive forty-five minutes down the line. Step through the door of my apartment, wash the work day away, and find a few moments of relaxation before falling into a dream world.

In the morning, I'll write again.


Lynch mobs and Paddy wagons

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012


The ignorance of some individuals astounds me. Einstein once said that, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." I tend to agree with his brash assessment of humanity, for the most part. It's easy to when there are rather shining examples of stupidity all around us today.

Whether it's always been like this, and only recently have we begun to thrust these morons into the spotlight and give them undeserved recognition, or if we are, as a nation, falling backwards in mental evolution is a question for another time.

What has sparked this sudden burst of misanthropic ranting is a letter to the editor of The Times Leader which has called for the repeal of Civil Rights. The writer of this brilliantly moronic letter, one Sean M. Donahue, contends that all crime in Luzerne county stems from "Hispanic migrants from Central and Latin America". He then goes on to propose a solution to the crime problem:

Writer: Repeal civil rights laws

Too many elected officials are too afraid to speak the truth. The people who brought crime to this area are Hispanic migrants from Central and Latin America. The only way to get rid of crime is to get rid of them.
Democracy allows us the use of peaceful means to repeal the civil rights acts so that we can do just that. Instead of talking about it quietly, please sign an application for a petition for initiative to have the revocation of civil rights laws put on the Luzerne County agenda and eventually on a statewide referendum.
....but getting the revocation of civil rights on a statewide referendum will send a necessary and powerful message to both Harrisburg and Washington. 
He then goes on to make a rather appalling presumption:
The population of Hazleton and the Hispanic population cannot meld into one population. I am tired of hearing politicians and loudmouth business leaders say such garbage.
Sean M. Donahue
(Full Text)
It's incredible the level of absolute brainlessness that some individuals feel comfortable in displaying. First off, let me point out something rather perplexing about Mr. Donahue's idea. He says, "Instead of talking about it quietly, please sign an application for a petition...". Mr. Donahue, how much more quiet can you get than signing a slip of paper? You're not talking about anything at all, let alone talking quietly.

Community problems demand community discourse. And it stands to reason, by Mr. Donahue's blatant disregard for upstanding Hispanic members of his community, that he would not have them participate in such discourse. What better way to usher through his ridiculous ideas than to pass around an application to like-minded friends while keeping it on the hush hush.

What further boggles my mind is Mr. Donahue's assumption that repealing Civil Rights laws, ignoring all of the terrible repercussions this would have, could be the only solution to crime in his community. What, if anything, could this possibly accomplish toward his goals of making the community safer? Or, is public safety and crime rate simply the facade to something more basic. Namely, Mr. Donahue's contempt for the Hispanic community.

He contends that the Hispanic population and the Hazleton population cannot meld into one population? As if the two were separate. Mr. Donahue's rhetoric and segregational speech hearkens to the days of lynch mobs and "Paddy" wagons. What more can we expect from someone actively seeking to repeal Civil Rights laws. Shall we throw the Black population under the bus as well, Mr. Donahue? Care for a bit of anti-Semitism?

Only one simple fact needs to be stated here: What this country suffers from is ignorant individuals who seek to "solve" problems with quick-fix schemes without using an ounce of brainpower. It suffers from veiled prejudices, as it always has, and the beat of extremist war drums. Understanding, education, and thought are trampled on as though they are the gravest of sins. We heap attention onto the screaming, brainless mobs and ignore those with true ideas and wisdom.

Mr. Donahue, I urge you to pull your head out of your ass and re-examine your thought process. For the problem you wish to solve is not that of crime but that of multi-culturalism. Yes, there is crime perpetrated by Hispanic individuals within Luzerne county. There are also crimes perpetrated by African Americans, Asians, and your fellow vanilla-white man. Repealing Civil Rights is not the answer and neither are completely baseless, moronic ideas of segregation bolstered by prejudices like you yourself have outlined.

For every Hispanic who has committed a crime within Luzerne county and North East Pennsylvania, there are dozens more who have not. And I can safely say that without one ounce of actual research into crime statistics and population density with Hazleton or its surrounding areas.

For your own sake, Mr. Donahue, and the sake of good, intelligent citizens within the Commonwealth, I ask you to refrain from opening your mouth until you've formed an intelligent idea. This, I'm sure, will guarantee your silence for some time.


Addenda 4-20-2012

Since the initial publishing of this post, I've come across another Sean Donahue rant of lunacy to The Times Leader. In this letter, Mr. Donahue attacks State Rep. Tarah Toohil over her failure to, "eradicate the immigrant and minority populations from Hazleton." In response, Mr. Donahue proposes to run for office on the platform of seceding from the nation if immigrants are not driven out and, amazingly, to instate "neo-Jim Crow" laws to be aggressively enforced.

Here is Mr. Donahue's letter to the editor from March 15th:

State Rep. Tarah Toohil has failed to eradicate the immigrant and minority populations from Hazleton. 
Prior to being elected, Toohil led us to believe that she would be an active champion of driving immigrants out of Hazleton. Since that time, she has done absolutely nothing to attain this goal. Toohil said that she would eliminate food ACCESS cards. Then, she apparently joined with the immigrant population to encourage white senior citizens to use the ACCESS card, too. 
Toohil led us to believe that she would address the issue of anchor babies by preventing them from attaining legal American citizenship but then refused to follow through on that agenda. 
Toohil also led us to believe that she would be a champion of spending cuts but then bragged that the Hazleton Area School District would receive no cuts in state funding, which meant that there would be no decrease in taxes. Toohil claimed that she would create jobs. Yet, all she has done is passively accommodate CAN DO Inc. and the very same employers who are giving jobs to the very same immigrants that the public of Hazleton elected her to get rid of in the first place. 
There is nothing about Toohil that espouses any conservative ideology. Instead, Toohil’s only concern seemingly is Toohil. Toohil is a chameleon. I am not. 
If voters write my name in on both the primary ballot and on the general election ballot for state representative of the 116th District, I will push legislation through the House to secede from the United States unless Congress forces all immigrants who entered the United States within the last three decades, and their children, to leave the country. 
I will demand secession unless the federal government ends all affirmative action programs for minorities, eliminates all forms of welfare for immigrants and adopts neo-Jim Crow laws that are to be aggressively applied to illegal immigrants until such a time that the illegal population can be successfully deported.
Sean M. Donahue
(Link to Letter)

These doors are not automatic

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012


"Not I, nor anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born,
and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere--on water and land."


It's incredible how things can fall into place. How, from a seemingly chaotic existence, life unfolds and sets the pieces together. The picture takes form right before your eyes. There are still points to my life that create stress and worry but, as a whole, I'm feeling good. I can finally see the semblance of the picture. The pieces are being set into place.

It's been two months since I've moved to Scranton. I read more. Spend more time with incredible friends. Lose myself in hidden nooks of Nay Aug park. And, finally, inspiration is seeping back into my life. Words once lost have begun to take shape. Spill onto the pages.

The warming days and blazing, brilliant sunsets bring a change too great not to mention. Thoughts are deeper. Increasingly clear. It almost makes the worry of living paycheck to paycheck melt away.

There's renewed happiness in my life. A connection and peace that I believed to be forever broken is being restored. I've actually caught myself smiling more than I've been feeling burdened. Some questions are yet to be answered, but exploring them has become enjoyable.

I know what I want. And I've taken steps to acquire it without hesitation. We've only one chance to make our lives what we want. Many wait for the doors to open and show them the way.

Don't wait.

They never open on their own.


An old one: "Coffee on the Curb"

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012


Coffee on the curb

Late morning.
Early morning?
Not sure which.

No track of time on

The only concept of
passing hours sat
light and dark.

I'd been with 

A few beautiful.
A few bodies
I'd have gladly

One I had.

Now this.
Walking home.
4 a.m.
6 miles to climb
the bottle.

No woman.
No god-damned

An open gas station.
The only stroke of
luck tonight.

I'd wanted

Here I sit.
Two doughnuts.
Lousy coffee.

Cost me half of
what I had left.

Sipping coffee.

miles to 

~Dale Wilsey Jr.


Light-footed along the walkway

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, March 19, 2012


The doors of the Hilton opened to the street and out I went into the slight bustle of traffic with a tinge of Jack and Coke resting on my mind. Sun shone off the tan bricks as it set, warming everything around me. It was a beautiful day. It wasn't even Spring yet. It was the end of my first full week as a Scranton resident.

It's a new beginning.

Walking along the street, I felt peaceful. I didn't even know I was smiling until I stopped to look at the light filtering through the buildings between Adams and Washington before casting an array of warmth over the courthouse.

It's amazing what a change of scenery can do for the mind. How the longer days filled with sun and brilliance can lift you up. For too long, I've felt burdened. Burdened by stresses, some I brought on myself, and unhappiness with my situation. Now that I've taken the time to change it and get serious about turning new corners and opening new doors, I've never felt better.

My inspiration to write had been lacking. My inspiration to do anything had been lacking. Maybe the change of season has a lot to do with it, but I cannot deny how the other changes have turned things around for me. I feel energized. I feel lighter.

I feel...excited.

Though I'm still settling in and the search for a new job continues, I already feel at home.

It feels good to be home.

           In the world.
                             In myself.

Movin' and Shakin'

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012


Photo by Thorsten
Big things are happening. Big things that are keeping me from the pen, the pages, and various other whims lately. There are boxes strewn about the house waiting to be hauled to my new location in Scranton. The move has been long overdue, but it's finally a reality.

Over the past few years, I've grown extremely fond of the Electric City. Born and raised in Tunkhannock, I'm an obvious country boy at times. But big towns and cities fill me with ideas. They spark inspiration through the sites, the people, and their history. Already I feel the ideas piling up inside of my head in anticipation of the move. I can barely sleep at night.

I'll be closer to opportunities. Closer to people I enjoy spending time with. I'll be able to walk out my front door to the building next door and have a coffee in the morning among the chatter of the blossoming day. Or, after a day of work, I can sit down and have a frothy beer perched on a bar stool. 

I'll be able to place my desk next to a window and watch the world as I write. Go for a stroll and peer down streets. Sit in a park and simply watch the world revolve.

It's a change which needed to happen. Doors were open and I refused to walk through before. It's time to shake things up. Stability and stillness only leads to stagnation. I may take a fall. It's a risk I need to take. It's a risk we all need to take to truly live.

Some choose to sit comfortable in one place. 

I want to move and shake.

Here's to walking through new doors.