Welcom To

Welcom To
By AquarianM

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Memoir: A Cigar With The Lost Sugar Queens Of Old Havana...

The night is one of quiet celebration. Appropriately, it is the evening of the Autumnal equinox.
The air is cool in the high desert of Temecula; A light jacket perfect. The stars shine above me as aircraft slowly blink their way across the sky. The palm trees are still sentinels in pooled light of amber streetlamps. It is quiet except for crickets and car tires in the distance.

I just achieved the two certifications that have saved my new job and launched my second career. I had only nine days left to spare.

I have tokens for marking the months of hard work it took me to achieve this.

I just finished a very fine cigar, the best I have had in a year. It was bought from Bob - at least that is the name gives.

Bob is the fellow who sounds and looks as if he is from India, and runs the strip-mall smoke shop down the hill. His shop is small, but he built an excellent walk-in humidor for his shop. He is rightfully proud of that humidor. He assured me that this cigar from one of his top humidor shelves is truly excellent. He was quite truthful, and I will tell him so when I see him next.

The other token is the first novel I have read in two years. Most people who know the younger me would be slack-jawed in shock to read the sentence immediately preceding this one.

I just picked the novel out this evening, and it is different from my usual fare of science fiction and fantasy. It is a story of a woman of Cuban decent, and her sugar-industry heiress grandmother who fled Cuba as a teenager immediately after Batista fled the island.

It is written in a poetic and romantic style, and jumps smoothly from the late 1950's era of the young woman fleeing Cuba to the days of her Journalist granddaughter returning her ashes to the land she loved.

"Next Year In Havana" is the title, and I am in love with it after the first chapter.

The book is paper in my hands, a tactile joy I have missed. 

The cigar was so good that it was painful to have finished, and I was loath to put it out. It was completely synchronistic for the tone of the book I am reading, on several levels.

So is this writing poetry? What I am giving my reader in this moment?

I would argue that poetry is the art of putting heart into writing of the small poignant moments of life. It is the art of bringing those moments to life and magnifying them for the reader. 

A piece of the story is all I can give, but let it be a piece that you can look at in words with your heart's eye and maybe fall a little bit in love with.

Yes, I am living this, loving this moment, and laying it at your fingertips.

Perhaps the air here in California tonights smells faintly of the ocean after the afternoon breezes from San Diego have finished their journey up the Temecula valley.

Just as one of the characters in my book is scenting the warm salty air of Cuba upon her return to the land of her immediate ancestors. 

The rest of her journey awaits in the soft paper of the pages in my hands.

The rest of my journey awaits me on Monday morning.

For this weekend, however, I will have my feet in Temecula and my heart and mind in two very different times in Cuba.

All I have to do now is turn another page...


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 09/21/2018

Compassion is the greatest sign of humanity.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Month Of Mars...

The Month Of Mars...

Sailing over fires.

The fires are fading,
Yet will renew,
Ages of heat to follow,
Nothing like the cold and radiation of space.

I love this place in the desert,
There are a few stars to see,
Unlike the city with it's glow blinding,
Here the planets play loudest 'cepting the Moon.

There is always motion in this sky,
Aircraft and their unknown companions,
Satellites and foo fighters,
Meteors that burn across sky.

Mars is a cold red glowing bright,
Hard and harsh yet brilliant,
Nothing like the evil soft red glow in the distance,
No brush fire in the sky.

This month of Mars,
A bright stone above us all.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 08/16/2018

Friday, August 10, 2018



I sit with a fine cigar,
The Wind rustles Through the palm fronds,
Heat dwindling in the evening.

Tonight I will see the glow in the Hills,
And know the battle continues,
Started by crazy,
Fueled by hot world.

Cleansing the past,
Involuntary Ash,
Evil red glow,
Wicked and deadly,
Speeding fright.

Do not make light of the plight,
Infernal words,
Cruelty at the fingertips of monsters.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 08/10/2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Weight Of Ghosts...

The Weight Of Ghosts...

Life is like an egg timer,
Or maybe an egg shell,
Or some other fragile damn cliche.

I know the richness of memories,
Times and places only a very few will know,
Less and less every year,
But I remember.

We're like cloud shapes in the sky,
Just visible for a blink or two,
But I have seen some seriously good ones.

It's comical,
When I talk to someone half my age,
The backdrop they're missing,
Utter cool evaporating on the wind.

Times and sayings,
Hair and clothes and music,
But people,
People most of all.

The thought of no one knowing who they were,
That's crushing,
And I wonder if that's what truly ages us,
The sheer weight of ghosts.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/25/2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Honor Among Clouds...

The Honor Among Clouds...

It's an old and faithful thing,
These flying volunteers.

It started with cloth and grit in World War Two,
The day after the war started,
In fact most people hardly know.

Civilian Airmen took their own planes to the skies,
Spotting submarines off our coastlines,
Sparrowhawks hunting tin sharks,
Piper Cubs and old Jennies alike,
They fiercly defended home.

They still volunteer among the clouds,
Or in old buildings on little airports,
Out among the dust and obscurity.


How many cadets went on to lead,
Officers and judges,
And every other working thing,
The stuff of civil duty,
A nearly-forgotten thing.

If your plane goes down,
They will find you.

If your house is flattened by a hurricane,
They will take the pictures that rebuild you.

If you want to learn of aviation,
They will teach you,
Or your sons and daughters.

The Silent Service,
Those barely heard of or known,
There when the chips are down,
Or when the skies are up.

Say hello to the Civil Air Patrol,
A golden thing under a blanket of dust,
A wonder that America barely remembers it has.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/17/2018

Author's Note:


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer's Winter Home...

Summer's Winter Home...

We moved here about three and one-half years ago,
A series of lucky circumstances led us,
Also seems to have followed us,
As we followed the childhood of our grandchildren.

Who could've known in those cold Chicago Winters,
That we would land at the heart of an unknown paradise?

Let me wake you with a morning,
Cool and sometimes misty,
Early balloons fly off the wineries,
Their baskets small and high and glorious,
Floating above the palm trees.

I walk the hills,
Steep hills at that,
Past a golf course I love to look at,
But never will use.

Roses and California poppies are littered alongside the walk,
Dots of color lead to beds of flame,
Ducks and loons and even herons and egrets grace the ponds,
As the temperature soars thirty degrees in two hours.

The citrus trees in our sideyard have fortified me,
And the blazing Sun emboldens the now dry air,
All the world is abustle and busy,
Until the breeze swoops up the valley at three PM.

By eight it will have fallen from ninety-five to seventy-seven,
Overnight look to the fifties or sixties,
Until the mist drifts up the valley from a San Diego harbor morning,
Forty-five minutes' drive South.

The mountains that surround us look just like ones I've seen,
Where Juan Valdez carted Folgers beans in sacks on his burro,
Yet these are quite beautifully real,
A far cry from the flat prairies of Illinois eaten by corn and soy.

It's January and February that tie me here,
Rainy forties and the tangerines are ripe,
Tomatoes  survived the Winter,
Lemons were for Thanksgiving and Christmas,
Oranges and grapefruits wait for June and July,
As the strawberry carts do for April.

How could one lose,
Here at our little green house,
On a street named for my grandparents,
Here in Summer's Winter home?


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/09/2018

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A Softened Place..

A Softened Place..

The sky is steel-grey with low-angle light,
Waves roll onto the beach from the endless line of surf,
Clouds saunter slowly past above Lake Michigan.

The beach grass is turning that golden color of the Northern Midwest,

Leaves are green,
Yet edged with yellow or orange-red,
Hints of splendors to come.

You may walk here today with the chill breeze that never stops,
Knowing that Winter will freeze you out in a month or two,
You pull your jacket tighter,
Reflective and visually immersed at the edge of a freshwater sea,
A timeless place where the seasons roll you,
And never the other way around.

The throngs of Summer are long-gone,
A few hardy souls wend the art of a cool lake,
Watching their breath waft up into the enchanted air,
Clutching a warm mug of coffee for dear life.

This place is bigger than you,
It's bigger than me,
Yet it's vulnerable to the endless raft of human ants,
Who are too small to see the impacts of their combined works.

You can feel that immense body of water,
From miles away you know where it is,
Just like it grinds broken bottles into soft beach glass,
Baubles for next Summer's children.

The seagulls sing their forever song,
Counterpoint to the bass of continuous waves,
Rolling, rolling, rolling,
The snare of grasses and branches rustling in time,
The slight notes of wind-whistle a finishing touch.

In the distance,
Far, far, far in the distance,
A train horn sings along,
Yet here is the domain of Nature,
Of seasons and time far older than us,
What was with us in our youth,
Hopefully will see children long after we're gone,
Poetry that is beyond writing.

In a place like this,
A softened giant timeless place,
You can find yourself an atom drifting with infinity's dream.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/03/2018

Miller Beach, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 2010 - Photo by Daniel A. Stafford