Words, Aloneness, Silence


If my words deceive you, the fault is all mine.

If my aloneness wounds you, we are both to blame.

But if my silence elicits your love, the world itself will rejoice.

Silence teaches us to know reality by respecting it where words have defiled it – Thomas Merton


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay

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The Softening Of My Heart


In my youth, I freely traded away my passion for indolence, indiscretion, and indulgence.

In my middle years, I grudgingly exchanged my days for hard work, hierarchy, and humiliation.

In my old age, I have gratefully yielded to the stiffness of my body, the sureness of my being, and the softening of my heart.

The reason why we don’t take time is a feeling that we have to keep moving. This is a real sickness. Today time is commodity, and for each one of us time is mortgaged. We experience time as unlimited indebtedness. We are sharecroppers of time. We are threatened by a chain reaction: overwork–overstimulation–overcompensation–overkill – Thomas Merton

Eventually, if it’s not too late, we understand (IHS).


Copyright 2017 (my verses)

Image Credit: Pixabay





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The Secret of the Well


There is a place that I’ve run to.

A place of new beauty and old comforts. Although scorned in my youth, its pull has become all the greater, its purpose less hidden, as time both overpowers and embraces me.

Primed with the wisdom, the teachings, the obsessions, and, yes, the phoniness of generations past, therein dwells the very formation of my being, and the final passage towards its crowning birth.

I dip my cup.

And slowly drink.

Gratitude, wrapped in routine, strewn with boredom. My life, my body, my mind, my being, are forever banded together with lives that I have never met, yet whose breath I will feel once more, again.


Copyright 2017 (Tom Zampino)

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Where Are The Angels?


Where are the


Where will they

be found?

If I sit

and wait,

I misconstrue

for if they

be stirred,

I must

first move.


will be



will be





upon this



Do not forget this invisible companion, always present to listen to you; always ready to console you – Padre Pio


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Joseph And Me


Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust, like diamonds we are cut with our own dust – John Webster

One afternoon, while I was out running through my neighborhood, I came across an old man sitting by himself, quietly reading, on a park bench – a bench that had only recently been re-installed by the town.

Now, my neighborhood is not all that big and I pretty much know everyone. But the old man was not familiar to me.

Not at all.

He was fairly well dressed, and certainly not ragged or homeless. His shoes were clean, if not shined, his jacket obviously well worn but not frayed. Engrossed in his reading, he nevertheless sensed me approaching.

He cleared his throat, removed his glasses, patted the open space next to him, and said – well, really more or less commanded me – to join him.

I did so, willingly, even eagerly (if not entirely sure why).

The old man then offered his hand, covered mine with a thick, firm grip, and introduced himself as “Joseph” as I recited mine back to him. He told me that he was just passing through today and was resting a bit before moving on.

For the next 30 minutes or so, I listened, mostly, as Joseph revealed some details about himself that were surprisingly intimate coming from a stranger. Nothing salacious, mind you, but words one would more likely expect to flow during a conversation between two old friends.

And yet, there was nothing awkward or strange in his doing so.

At least not to me.

Among other details, Joseph told me that he was once an executive on Wall Street. He had had a large family, many friends, and had enjoyed quite a bit of status and prosperity over the years.

Then everything changed. Dramatically.

Like, in an instant.

All that he had, all that he had worked for, all that he had created for himself, had simply . . . vanished. No home, no job, no family, no wealth.

All gone.

The details of what had happened weren’t really important, he insisted (and I never did learn what they were). Just the fact that his old life had suddenly fallen away into dust.

Without any warning, without a pause.

And while the agony of losing his family had never ceased, he had long ago surrendered himself into his new life – the simple, daily routines that come from eating, and living, and sleeping alone.

From being alone.

Every day.

All of the time.

I don’t think that it would be fair to say that Joseph’s new life had surprised him by breathing into him some kind of unexpected but beautiful serenity.

In fact, he didn’t seem to have been moved in that direction at all. There seemed to exist some layer of anxiety just below the surface of his agonizingly calm words.

But even the stranger – that’s me – could easily recognize the wisdom gained in the face of disaster and inevitable change. And the certain knowledge that we all, ultimately, may one day similarly come full circle – compelled to surrender our habituated lives into this side of time.

Along with the simple realization that some just begin down that road a little earlier than the rest.

Sometimes, though, those very pioneers among us might actually help point the way home.

Like Joseph did for me.


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Of Birthdays, Anniversaries, And Such


We were both kids back then.

Well, maybe not exactly kids.

But 33 years together, if you start counting from the day we first met back in July 1984 – that day when I finally, anxiously, summoned up the courage to mutter to this exotic creature* the words “sit here” – have cumulatively changed, re-oriented, and matured us.

And, yes, I simply refuse to say that the years have aged us, even if that is the more precise word.

Our relationship over the years, depending upon the point in time at which you stop to view the snapshot, has as much fused us together as it has con-fused us separately.

Some days have been downright blissful.

Others . . . well, not so much.

But we are, in the end, no more, and certainly no less, your typical married couple of a certain age.

We’ve raised two beautiful, hard-working, and compassionate kids who are now out on their own. Looking back, it often feels miraculous that we didn’t screw them up too badly. And that they still want to come visit us whenever they have the time we count among our greatest joys.

We’ve spent the past two years or so re-learning about each other. Actually, in many ways it’s been more like learning about each other for the first time.

We’ve discovered, for instance, that we are much more alike than we had ever realized. While that sounds so promising, we’ve also come to realize that that’s probably been the source of one of our biggest, albeit unconscious, irritants.

After all, we never set out to marry ourselves.

But as I have also stated publicly elsewhere:

More and more, we find ourselves on similar quests. Our mortal differences, once seemingly unbridgeable, have fallen out of focus and, in large measure, have been set aside for matters of greater import and deeper meaning.

So different and yet so much the same now.

And here’s what I have learned most of all.

This is what has kept us together for better or worse, through sickness and in health:

Your beauty, your laughter, your talent, your intellect drew me close to you all those many years ago. They still do. But you should know that none of those things hold me here, no.

Rather, I find myself breathing in when you do, and my heart beating in unison with yours.

That doesn’t mean that we have become a single person to the complete exclusion of our former selves. But I do believe that our separate beings have joined together in ways, both concrete and eternal, that no mortal can ever fully comprehend this side of time.

Call it a complex mystery, call it our eternal destiny, call it some cosmic toss of the dice, it is nonetheless real, it is assuredly sincere, and it is all so very, very human.

I wish you a very happy birthday Rachel!

And a happy 33rd anniversary of our first date!


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Own Photo


* Just look at her!

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What We Possess


If your world were to end tomorrow, would you understand (would you even recognize) the truth?

Have you ever fully engaged your intellect? Your reason? Your passions? Your faith?

Or do the tides of this earth wash over you, like so much sand slipping through your unclenched fists?

But why?

Look around you, for there are clues, and signs, and signposts.

There is abundance.

There is life.

And you possess – right here, right now, right where you are – every tool necessary to absorb it all, to make it all make sense.

So go and see.

Come smell, and hear, and touch, and taste of it.

All of it.

And know, always, that none of this – not one single hurt, not one anxious thought, not one dollar stashed away – can define or confine us.

None of it belongs to the person we were ultimately meant to be.

We are all free.

Free to be open, free to be real, free to be . . . free.

Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true – Thomas Merton


Copyright 2017 (my verses)

Image Credit: Pixabay

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We Could Not Know


The Afternoon Knows What The Morning Never Suspected – Robert Frost


Are not


Where once

They risked,


They will,

One day, grieve



Words of love

Either way.

Hands united,

Eyes ahead,

We accompanied

Our best thought out


If not our most dazzling


Schedules, jobs,

Bills, and kids

Carried us forward.

To this time,

To this place,

That we did not see,

But would never trade.

A time, a place

We could not know

When two hearts

First chanced

And risked it all.

And that

Has changed



Image Credit: Pixabay

Copyright 2016


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The Silence, The Renewal


The silence, the emptiness, of my room,

Fill me not with dread, but with hope.

For they extort out of me new beginnings.

A renewal, a reshaping, a reemergence.

So much like winter’s retreat in the face

of spring’s freshly painted artillery.

In the clearing, in the chaste opening,

I stumble upon a way back.

And find myself as one again

(with you).


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay


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