Sunday, March 30, 2014


The Road (Daydreams, 2004) is about New England…and about life. It is a path we have all traveled in one form or another, encountering obstacles that most of us have faced.


Perhaps that’s what fascinates so many with the New England countryside. In it, along its highways and byways, we can find pieces of the evolution of the American culture, and evidence of some of the unhappy places that lie in our future.


Glenn K. Currie



                                                     The Road


                                                Through old mill towns,

                                                Married to rivers

                                                That have lost their purpose.

                                                Facades staring out,

                                                With long memories,

                                                And short futures.

                                                Leaning toward the water,

                                                Like divorcees

                                                Who can’t let go.


                                                Past dairy farms

                                                That once prospered,

                                                Now fighting for survival.

                                                Faded red barns,

                                                Framed by rocky meadows,

                                                Rusting mowers,

                                                And homes too big.

                                                Waiting hopelessly,

                                                For reinforcements.


                                                Weaving through valleys

                                                Huddled in shadow.

                                                Mountains made tall

                                                By their hulking proximity.

                                                Stealing the sunlight.

                                                Bullies ruling

                                                A small world.

                                                Forcing travelers

                                                To go around.


Ending at the highway.

The intersection

Of fast food and fast cars.

Public restrooms

And self-serve gas.

Where everyone knows

Where they are going,

And can’t remember,

Where they have been.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One of the wonderful things about life is that even though our bodies will inevitably grow old, if we are lucky, our mind can age much more slowly.


If we are smart enough to keep a little of our child inside us, we have the opportunity to still explore the world and find wonder in what it brings us, even as our bodies fade.


There is a certain radiance in people who have managed to sustain their inner child. And there is a very identifiable sense of grief in the looks and nature of those who have let their’s die.


The older we get, the more we are assaulted with the pains and sorrows and burdens of life. Sometimes the child is lost in the storms. We forget that the child needs care and feeding and consoling, just as does the adult.


We are often told to “grow up”…”to put away childish things”. I think I will miss mine too much to do that. He is too much a part of me. I shall let the world grow old around me, but I hope we shall still find wonder and beauty together, until the earth carries us both back to her bosom.


The Child (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) is about my struggle with the issue of “growing up”.


Glenn K. Currie


The Child


People say that it is time

To leave the child.

That I am too old

To raise him properly.


I worry about the future.

What will happen to him?

Who will feed and care for him,

This child I leave behind?


Who will teach him life?

Share the wonders of the world,

Laugh with him through triumphs,

And cry with him at inequities?


Who will I turn to

When the days are tired and gray?

Who will show me innocence,

And the sweetness of dreams?


I think he is happy with me,

Even if he never grows up.

Perhaps I will keep him with me

Just a little bit longer.



Sunday, March 23, 2014


In this the season of non-spring spring, I thought it might lift our spirits if we focused on our upcoming non-summer summer. To that end, I am enclosing an article I wrote about York Beach, Maine. The water there is as close as you can get to winter in August and thus will provide a minimum disruption to typical New England life.


Getting Ready for the Beach is from Granite Grumblings (Life in the “Live Free or Die State) (Snap Screen Press, 2011). I hope it will add a little humor to your day.


Glenn K. Currie




Getting Ready for the Beach



I have spent parts of the last thirty years at York Beach, Maine (sometimes also known as Concordville because so many Concord residents vacation there). It is a great place to go for a change of pace. I like the sounds of the ocean, the cool sea breezes, the excitement and activity of the area, and the ever-changing scenery (both on the water and the sand). For years, however, I have been trying to figure out what motivates individuals to spend all those hours actually lying on the beach. I couldn’t understand why theoretically normal and sane people would find pleasure in oiling themselves up, and then alternately frying themselves in the hot sand and freezing in the numbingly cold waters of the North Atlantic. I was unsuccessful in obtaining a government grant to pursue an analysis of this (apparently they were already over budget for theses kinds of projects). I decided, however, to continue with research on my own, as a service to my fellow man.


After years of study, and many long hours with the binoculars, I believe I have been able to classify, in general terms, some of those who seem so addicted to blistered skin, sand in intimate places, and heart-stopping, cold water baths. I thought it might be useful to share some of the results of this research with you prior to the arrival of the new beach season. This might allow you to better evaluate the situation if you, a normal person, were to suddenly find yourself surrounded by a broad cross-section of certifiable crazies at such a beach.


The following categories comprise the major groups of beach dwellers. They are listed in no particular order:


1)Polar Bears. There are people out there who actually like to swim in freezing water. Some of them can be seen on TV in the winter, diving into holes in the ice. This is part of their training program so that the York Beach water doesn’t seem too cold. I suspect that their brains were fried in a previous summer’s heat, and now they have the uncanny ability to actually thrive in water that makes the rest of us turn blue. Most of these people have been preparing for years for this test, their bodies are well-oiled, and the tide tends to rise when they go in.


2)Max-Tanners. These are people who use the beach to release their inhibitions. Many of them wouldn’t be caught dead in a revealing blouse on Main Street, but will basically strip down to their underwear as soon as they are standing on sand. The theoretical rationale is that this is the only way they can get a really good tan. The actual objectives vary from impressing boyfriends or girlfriends, to enjoying the sense of freedom and release that comes from running around nearly naked. There is a kind of selective amnesia related to this, and that is probably a good thing. It definitely adds life to the beach scene but can be a real mixed blessing. There are some cases where there is more to meet the eye than the eye is ready for.


3)Voyeurs. Many beach-goers fall into this category. They come to see everyone else. Unfortunately beach etiquette demands that they also wear bathing suits. This can be particularly unpleasant. One ameliorating factor with this group is that they burn easily and therefore often cover up fairly quickly. They also tend to have very short attention spans, except when confronted with world-class max-tanners. Since York Beach is not Malibu, they often get bored and hot, and wander into town to buy ice cream and add to their collection of ugly t-shirts.


4)Perpetual Motion Machines. A wide variety of kids add excitement and variety to the beach scene. These youngsters have been resting up all year for beach day. They are impervious to cold water, are quite good at warming up tidal pools, love to splash those who wander too close to the ocean, and kick sand in food and drinks as they run over bodies and drip on towels. They are relentless in their activities, never sleep and have great lungs, which help maintain a decibel level that appears essential to maintaining the chemistry of the beach.


5)Beasts of Burden. These are mostly out-of-shape fathers who are on an involuntary conditioning program. They don’t actually spend much time on the beach, but they can be seen making frequent trips between car or cabin and the established beachhead. They carry inner tubes, folding chairs, shovels, pails, towels, big hats, cushions, binoculars, beach umbrellas, radios, wagons, strollers, blankets and a wide assortment of toys. The kids mostly ignore this stuff and the mother generally is too busy to use it, but it definitely contributes color to the setting. Most of these trips are scheduled at the hottest part of the day.


6)Unofficial Assistant Lifeguard. There are always a few of these guys on the beach. They roam back and forth looking for their lost youth. They can be identified by the tiny little bathing suits that they wear, and the tendency to have more hair on their backs than on their heads.


7)Mummified Remains. These are veteran beach goers who were left out in the sun too long, and are now a permanent part of the landscape. They are there when you get there, and they are there when you leave. They never seem to move, and probably own that piece of beach by virtue of squatter’s rights. With luck, they will wake up before the guys with the metal detectors come by and try to grab their earrings and keys.


I hope that this summary of my years of beach study will be useful to you in understanding the dynamics of this primitive culture. Obviously, most of you do not fall into any of these categories, but are, instead, just normal, healthy people looking to get away from the hot weather. And if you are also interested in doing scientific studies of beach culture, York Beach is a pretty good place to start.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Most of us live our lives in fear. We worry about what others will think to the point that we forget what that makes us think of ourselves.


We fear the failure more than the success, and walk through life along tentative lines that leave us frustrated or depressed. Then we take drugs or drink to help blur what we have become.


I have fought those kinds of fears most of my life. I will have a modicum of success and then pull a shell around myself to protect the progress. It was easy to make excuses for not stretching further: family security, a poor economy, fear of ridicule, too much work, lack of confidence.


The truth is there are a million reasons not to do something. Opening a new door is pretty scary when we don’t know what’s behind it.


The impetus for me to open the door was the fear that when I stopped wondering what was around the next corner, I was really just buttoning up and waiting for the winter.


I wrote The Stranger at the Door (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) mostly as a challenge to myself; a reminder not to be afraid of new things, and to think in new ways. I was especially saying to myself to “open the damn door, otherwise the noise is going to keep me from ever getting a good night’s sleep”.


Glenn K. Currie



The Stranger at the Door


There is a stranger at my door.

I hide behind my chains and locks,

Afraid of his judgement.

He has traveled a great distance

To demand more from me

Than I know how to give.


Through the drawn curtains,

I hear him taunting me for my fears.

“The Earth is too large”, I say,

“The universe is too small”, he replies.

My mind runs in circles

As I watch the mirror change.


I am torn between less and more,

What I am and what can be.

My vision is flawed by temerity.

Yet, if I dare, I will see

Who now stands so quietly,

This stranger at the door.


Sunday, March 16, 2014


Most of us, at one time or another, have stopped to listen or watch street performers. Sometimes their acts seem a desperate search for money. But often, they display a significant amount of talent.


It is quite probable that some of the finest artists in the world have never reached a major stage. Becoming a famous singer or musician or dancer, is largely a matter of having your talent “recognized” by someone in a position to take it to a new level.


I have heard and seen street performers in places all over the world who have left me wondering why they aren’t part of something more…something bigger.


Perhaps, for some, it is a conscious choice. They don’t choose celebrity. For most, however, they are invisible because they live in a world that is a parallel universe to our own. We may briefly break free from our individual lives to stop and listen to a marvelous street performer. But the worth of the performance is usually judged by the stage, and an abandoned storefront, underground rail station or park bench, are not the surroundings that merit more than a few moments of our time.


As I watched one of these performances, it became apparent that this dancer did not need to be validated by surroundings. His message to me was, no matter what the stage, we always have the power to control our performance.


The Tap Dancer (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) is about that street performance which I saw in New York many years ago. The talent displayed, the integrity of the performer, and the ability he had to, literally, stop traffic, remain with me to the present, and are a constant source of inspiration.


Glenn K. Currie

                                                     The Tap Dancer


Pounding the sidewalk, filled with fury,

Anxious to make the music hurry,

He moved his feet to impatient beats,

Translating languages of the streets.


His boom box propped against the wall,

Reverberated the rhythm’s call.

Rapping on windows, rattling locks,

Accomplice to the dancer’s knocks.


Then like magic, harmony flows,

Music and motion blend and grow.

A small crowd gathers in the square,

Watching the artist paint the air.


Performing for a jaded few,

On a stage of obstructed view.

A master dances, playing taps,

Talent sold, for coins in a cap.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

After watching the Academy Awards Ceremony the other night, I was thinking about what a mixed blessing it must be to be a celebrity.


The adulation and fame do wonders for the ego and yet, once obtained, is often accompanied by the fear that it can slip away in an instant.


It is great to be recognized everywhere you go until it isn’t. Until you find you can’t go to the store or the movies or a restaurant without the hassle of looking the part and being graded on everything from your menu choice to your tip. And the slightest unpleasant encounter or conversation will be caught on camera by some of the most obnoxious people in the world.


Celebrity also means if you or your family screw up, even get a parking ticket, everyone in the world will know about it.


Even the events that are meant to be supreme ego gratifiers can be difficult. Think about the Oscars. Most of the nominated will be losers and all the participants will be graded on what they wear, who did their hair and who they are with. Cameras will zero in at the worst possible moments, and if you screw up the pronunciation of a name like John Travolta did, the embarrassment will richochet around the world several times.


The other tough thing about being a celebrity is that even after your time is past, it remains a part of you. It is like a ticking time bomb waiting for any misstep to light up the information highway with the news. You may not be of interest on a daily basis, but the public is always there to grade you when necessary.


As you age, you can be sure that your epitaph has already been written by hundreds of blogs and journals, and is ready to be published or updated based on what the day brings.


It is hard to age well as a celebrity. This is why many try to fade into anonymity in later years. For some, however, fame is too addictive and they try to cling to the spotlight even when the glare is too harsh. You only have to look at the embarrassing efforts of Kim Novak at this year’s Oscars to see what can happen. A once beautiful woman reduced herself to a train wreck through the misuse of plastic surgery. Her moment back on the stage was one of those events where it was painful to watch but too hard to look away.


All of this is preface to an encounter I had recently on a plane trip. I sat across the aisle from an individual who had once been a familiar face to almost everyone in America. He was now a confused old man, traveling alone and, seemingly, adrift in the world. He was a gentle soul whose celebrity did not allow him to be just another traveler, but instead emphasized the distance he had travelled in life.


I wrote the poem Landing (copyright 2014 Glenn K. Currie) about that encounter.




The old man’s coffee cup leaked unnoticed,

Wetting his pants as he waited to board.

Someone helped him tighten the lid,

But a trail of drops continued to mark his passage.

He had misplaced his ticket,

And sat in the wrong seat

Until a flight attendant checked the roster.


He wore dirty white boots that zipped in front,

And white latex gloves over swollen hands.

 As passengers passed through business class

They smiled and he smiled back,

Sometimes complimenting a sweater or hat.

The comments seemed more a habit;

An obligation rather than an observation.


In the three hour flight he neither read nor ate.

He got up once to abuse a bathroom

That did not accommodate his size or age.

Everyone on the plane knew who he was,

But his fame now seemed a burden.

Cell phones lit up in baggage claims,

Detailing an old man’s struggles to fly.



 Copyright 2014 Glenn K. Currie

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Our lives are marked by births and marriages and funerals, and the people that move in and out of our conscious worlds. Most of these people intersect with us only in brief moments. We are participants in a larger universe where our perspectives are unique and share common ground with others only in accidental congruence.

The major events that define the lives of our friends almost always start and finish without us .We are  part of the crowd that makes life real for them, but then we spin off in different directions coming back together only as pieces in a play without a script.

Sometimes it is hard to tell what is real at these intersecting events. Have we been here before? Does everything seem familiar? Is this part of that dream that seemed so real a few years or weeks ago. 

Weddings are the strangest. We usually know just one of the two individuals. And the odds are that half will end in divorce. Yet the event is filled with the romantic optimism that represents the beginnings of new lives. And we drink and dance and hope that this will be a time when two people will find a partner to share their journey across this earth.

The Wedding (copyright Glenn K. Currie, 2014) is about one of those events.


The Wedding


The line between here and there

Seems so thin.

I wonder sometimes if I cross

Back and forth,

And never know it.

People seem to disappear

For so many years

And then return,

Recounting their journey

In the time it takes

To wait in a drink line

At a wedding.

Perhaps I have slept

Through my hours on Earth

Only to wake to memories

Translucent as air.

Warm breaths that ride a breeze

Blowing through a bipolar world

Of  whispers and shouts.


Of life and death,

Tossed off

Like so many gin and tonics.


I sit and watch

A young couple take vows

In a gathering

That will never be duplicated

Yet occurs all the time.

I wonder who I will see

When some of us meet again.

Or will my journey

Never again intersect

With those who move

From here to there.

copyright 2014 Glenn K. Currie

Saturday, March 1, 2014

As I sit this 1st day of March, surrounded by two feet of snow, I try to gather strength and husband hopes from the knowledge that a rebirth of the land will soon take place.

Spring is the beginning of the cycle of life for our place on this earth. It is the season of wonder and the freshness of new discoveries.  And it is the proof of our resurrection from the seemingly endless gray of winter.

I wrote Spring (Riding in Boxcars, 2006) to try to capture the youthful exuberance that comes with this season. For adults especially, its arrival seems akin to that last day of school when we were ten. It gives us permission to turn our souls inside out and feel the joy of shedding our burdens and walking into a land of new beginnings.

The caption I wrote under the accompanying photograph in my book reads "We are young as long as we still savor the scents of lilacs and roses and fresh clover".

Stay young. Spring is coming.

Glenn K. Currie



Oh the joy!

A child,

Singing to a morning

Immaculate in conception.

Filled with the innocence

Of fresh awakenings.


A child,

Turning clouds

To cathedrals.

Playing hide and seek,

In the dappled shade,

Of new-born leaves.


A child,


 By the perfumes,

Of lilacs and daffodils.

Drinking dew drops,

From buttercups.


A child,

Building civilizations

In the soft earth.

Bathing in the sunshine

Of endless possibilities.

Oh the joy!