I was mowing just now. It’s not an easy task – mowing in humid South Carolina. A song randomly came on my music player: “Running on Empty“, the classic and trenchant song by Jackson Browne. I began to cry as it struck deeply into me. It’s a haunting and prescient piece. It’s intriguing, incisive, introspective.Read More
August 21st, 2018
August 13th, 2018
In this blog, I share a few recollections, memories, conclusions, and facts about my father, Morton Merchey, who died about a year ago. I have been thinking about my dad while reading a biography by David Richman, in which his father’s death is recounted in evocative ways. I tend to go through life only occasionally reflecting on all that my father purposefully and unwittingly taught me, but today I will dig in and see what personal growth might come of doing so.Read More
August 8th, 2018
Have you ever heard the rock song “People Who Died” by The Jim Carroll Band? I was in the mood today to listen to that and miss, mourn, and lament the people I’ve known who have died. We all have folks and pets who brought a lot of meaning and joy to our lives. Mine are my dad, John Alexander Marshall, J.J., my grandmother Esther, and Gil Haimson. Let me tell you about Johnny “Ringo” Marshall, as I called him.Read More
July 31st, 2018
In this blog, I will explore my feelings and thoughts when it comes to an area of expertise I have developed: writing about values and ethics. I have experienced ups and downs, successes and failures, challenges and triumphs in the last 30 years since high school, and especially in the last 14 since I founded Values of the Wise. Perhaps herein you will find something that encourages you to emulate (or avoid) my process. It wasn’t until about 15 months ago (since I began blogging) that I began thinking of myself as an artist. It’s a good feeling, but a bit of a burden, too.Read More
March 20th, 2018
This is a poem about wistfulness. Wistful is clarified by Vocabulary.com: “People who appear wistful often show a longing for something or a look of serious reflection. One way to describe the adjective wistful is as the sad appearance of someone looking back and thinking if only… A thoughtful or pensive mood centered on something good in the past that is missed or something not so good in the present that could have been better if only something had gone differently — these things make for a wistful outlook.”
This solid piece was written by the long-dead writer, John Rollin Ridge, reputed as the first American Indian novelist. It speaks of wistfulness, regret, selfhood, memories, pain, remembrance, meaning, and peace. It’s amazing not just for its stylistic excellence, but for how well it has lasted, considering it was written by a Cherokee Indian almost 75 years ago. Enjoy.
December 30th, 2017
This 2003 poem about anxiety regarding a love interest shows my ambivalent feelings, fear, and lust:
Amy represents to me solace and intrigue.
I return again and again for more of her light.
Bent on success, I ought not to stop now,
But winning her heart is daily an emotional fight.
December 27th, 2017
In this poem, I process the fact that I have tattoos that explicate clearly what my values and aspirations are. I call them “scarlet letters.”
Perhaps if this world were peaceful,
And love ruled as now do mere boys,
I would not be wearing these scarlet letters,
But living with my brethren amongst joy.
December 24th, 2017
An ode to emotion, vision, gratitude, fulfillment, joy, and contentment. Much of what makes life really worth living:
To write a thoughtful poem;
To give help when sorely needed;
To seek and find elusive faith;
To have really succeeded.
December 15th, 2017
This poem, “The Rose,” is a way to look at an experience I had where I was into a woman and she was fairly self-protective. Consider the stanza:
She opens up, but not too much;
We see each other, but not too soon;
She tells me secrets, but not too many;
I can have the sun, but not the moon.
December 5th, 2017
The second part of a poem entitled “Loneliness”, this piece lays bare my innermost feelings about social connection.
Would that I could have the integrity
To not feel so lonely about my aloneness.
Rather, to accept it, embrace it.
Because for whatever reason, it is me