Step Inside

“Enter when you will, take what you need, leave something of yourself when you go”

I have a friend I met over a bottle of scotch in a Brandywine Valley bed & breakfast some odd years ago who travels constantly and widely, sending me bits and pieces of the world as he goes. Each picture contains a sense of mystery, or surprising humor, and/or most likely the bicycle he rode in on.

I forget where he said he shot this wide planked shack. It is intriguing, don’t you agree? The sun and scattered leaves promise it is a bright, brisk day, yet, I wonder what musty odor fills your nose when you poke your head through the door, what scurrying varmint lives in the corners, what fingers grab your ankle once you cross the threshold and the heavy door slowly shuts out the light, the long, strong boards slide through the door handle locking  you inside…

… you go first…I am right behind you…

SIMONE in 53 words

There is only one way in or out.  You must go up or down the stairs right past Simone’s front door.  If you time it right she will be taking a nap, and you can escape.  However,  if she is awake… if she hears you… she comes for you.  


6/25/2020  rJo Herman

I sol ate

Nothing to do

Nowhere to be

No one to talk to

No one to see

I stand on the balcony throwing pine cones at the squirrels stretched out on the branches within reach of my zucchini pots.

I have lousy aim.

They just look at me.


Six blooming lindens line the sidewalk near the church just beginning to emit that sweet linden fragrance. Can you smell it?

The fresh morning air is sharp and cool; my long sleeved T feels good. All will be blazing hot later, wilting the leaves on the new zucchini midday

The Beatles surge in my head, “Here comes the sun, deedle dee da…” and up it comes, and I turn home to shut the windows, turn on the fans, wait for the cool of the evening.

6/8/2020 rJo Herman

wild child strikes again

why am I surprised

to see her mom on crutches?

kicked by her wild girl

on the murder of George Floyd

I am white.

I cried to see the murder of this man on the internet.

My stomach still churns, days later.

When a child, I was taught to respect my elders,

to respect my peers and my superiors,

to respect my neighbors, ALL my neighbors,

to celebrate all our differences,

to acknowledge our similarities,

to live

and to let live.

I believed everyone was taught the same basic principals.

I believed everyone should live and let live always…and that everyone believed that.

Now I am old.

I have come to know that all the learning in the world

cannot, will not, does not ensure safety, respect for basic decency.

I understand that all the belief and trust in others can prove to be poorly placed. That the life I have lived and live is different than the life of others, that common sense as I know it exists in my vaccuum.

I have no idea what can be done, because I do not understand how evil is allowed to exist by God Almighty. I cannot grasp how one man can kill another so coldly, blindly…

Still I believe in God and in Good,

and still I pray for peace.

June 1, 2020 rJoHerman, Littleton, CO

Memorial Day 2020

The sun is out and very bright.

Flags are flying everywhere in sight.

Barbecues coals are starting to glow.

We’re all dressed up with nowhere to go.

The freedoms our heroes died for

Are currently quite out the door.

The government controls are in place

to keep “healthy” masks on our face.

We must keep ourselves distant

so we are all virus resistant.

It is getting to be too much

to hear we must live in fear and such.

My tolerance is at zero.

So I plan to honor a hero

today by taking a long walk,

then finding someone with whom I can talk

about how great life can be every day

because of the lives our heroes lost for the U.S.A.

Slight Shock

She walks her yappy little Laso often. I would say,

early in the morning, again at noon, then later in the day.

Regardless of the hour, come rain or shine,

She gets him out to relieve himself which really is quite fine,


She is no spring chicken; is at least as old as me,

Which means her skin is sagging round her eyes and either knee.

Nothing to be done about that, I am perfectly aware,

But you would think at least once a week she would comb her morning hair;

And pull on a robe, perhaps, to bind her pendulous breasts;

and continue wearing her blue face mask as she reports on her positive tests.

“Oh, don’t mind me,” she said when we met out walking a couple days back

“I’m still in my (short) nightgown. I just don’t care…” I gave her little flack,

But I do wish I would have some warning when she is out and about,

so I could be ready to cover my shock when we meet along the same route.

Sentenced Without Proof

Forty years I worked in busy offices

longed for days of peace and quiet and privacy,

dreamt of uninterrupted hours to read and read and read,

to eat when hungry,

to nap whenever.

This prescribed isolation of two or three or more months, though,

is more than respite,

exceeds relaxation,

tests rejuvenation,

brings on the insanity of rocking back and forth while sitting in place.

This is more than quarantine,

more than looking out for my fellow man.

This is solitary confinement

as in prison.


rJoHerman  5/14/2020


It is the eighth of May

What year does not matter.

The sun is out, the air is fresh

The squirrels are full of chatter.


They rush from branch to limb

chasing each other like mad.

I always expect at least one to fall,

They don’t. That makes me glad.


The chickadees and robins

are busy, busy nesting,

and chirping, and scolding, and holding forth.

They have no time for resting.


The garden fills with bright, new green.

Baby shoots appearing.

Peonies, poppies, iris, too,

Every sprout endearing.


The glory of the Maytime Spring

can never quite erase

the loss of Ruth so long ago.

I miss and miss her face.


I miss her laugh, the things she’d say

that cut you to the core.

But for every snide, sarcastic quip,

there was so much to adore.


She died too young, but did her best

to make it through each day,

Until she actually gave up the ghost

that sunny ninth of May.


I choose to celebrate the eighth,

when she was with us still,

Loving her boys, giving her all,

dying against her will.


So, here’s to you! My little sis.

I know you’d have something to say

’bout me moping around, crying about you

when I’m faced with a beautiful day.


So, I’ll water the plants, and sing something silly

and dance around the deck,

If you will  send down some small, simple sign

That you’re still around, by heck!


I know you are!  😉


rJo Herman 5/8/2020







Emil Catt

He sleeps, but not where I’ve laid out a comfy bed.

No, he sleeps on top of the fresh, yet to be folded laundry.                                                      He snores on the jacket I tossed across the back of the sofa when I came in from getting the mail.

The smooth, cool surface of the coffee table seems a favorite spot,  oblivious to the magazines sliding onto the floor when he stretches out his hind legs.

Yes, he sleeps where he will, and he surely will most of every day.

But come evening, just as the sun starts to settle behind the hills,                                          he yowls, then streaks through the house, bouncing off the walls, dragging at the shutters, chasing shadows of who knows what… low growls and butts heads with toy mice strewn near the fireplace.

Then suddenly exhausted, he lies across the comforter, imagining that he will be allowed to sleep there while I find a spot on the couch.