Spoken Word Poet Shane Koyczan

Long before I wrote a serious line of poetry I was mesmerized by a young lumberjack-looking poet: red shirt, black vest, beard, scarf and jeff, standing alone on an elevated circular platform in the center of a stadium with 61,600 spectators. Not your typical poetry crowd. Accompanied with only the spoken word, Shane Koyczan captivated the audience at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

I didn’t catch then poet’s name at the time, but he left such an impression on me that seven years later I was reading a blog I follow at Writings By Ender and recognized him immediately.

Canadian Shane Koyczan is a spoken word poet who writes about heady subjects: bullying, cancer, death, hope and seeing the sun through the clouds, and he does it with passion, precision and grace.

Below Koyczan delivers his powerful poem To This Day about bullying to a prestigious TED audience.

Thanks to Austin Wiggins, creator of Writings By Ender, author of the short story collection Bonds that Bind, and co-founder of the magazine Beautiful Losers.

If you can’t get enough of Koyczan’s spoken word, listen to him recite Instructions For A Bad Day and Move Pen Move at at Writings By Ender.

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Trinity House


Narrow tree-lined street in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia where many Trinity Houses are located. (Photo: Joe Strupek)

Trinity House: three floors, one room per floor—Father, Son and Holy Ghost. That’s how the design unique to Philadelphia got its name in the 1700s. Today Trinity Houses are in demand by investors and homeowners who rehab and update them with modern materials, appliances and luxuries.


Alfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, where homes date back to the 1720s. (Photo: Norman Maddeaux)

In my short story “Trinity House,” Manny is a young construction worker with ambition and a strong work ethic. His respect for the craftsmanship of a bygone era puts him at odds with a young investor who hires him. The story begins with Manny pedaling his bike through a drug-infested neighborhood to work rehabbing a Trinity House. A late model BMW nearly runs him off the road and he rams the bottom of his work boot into the door. To find out what happens next read Trinity House.

Trinity House appears in the latest edition of Prime Number Magazine published by Press 53.


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Home for the Holidays

The line accordions: it wheezes and jerks

wheezes and jerks,

funnels into a glass cylinder;

radioactivity slices through my organs.


I’m watching 100 geese

flying south for the Holidays


or are they laughing?


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Merriest Christmas

Thanks go out to Thom Hickey creator of The Immortal Jukebox for sharing this incredible and singular reciting of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by the iconic Bob Dylan.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Follow The Immortal Jukebox for thorough and interesting music history ranging from Rock & Roll to blues to Motown and many roads in between. You can also follow Thom on Twitter @thomhickey55

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Where Have All The Hikers Gone?

Thru-hikers give way to hunters
naked trees replace fall colors


the narrow trails widen
December on the AT
trunks fill the forrest


then open to
crisp panorama


icy toes & oatmeal
on a 27 degree sunrise

which way shall I go?


down the mountain
into the gap


and across the Lehigh


to Kittatinny Ridge



back up the trail


face south
from the ridge


solid colorsimg_3148

face north


and back into the woods


past Smith Gap


with a Golden trooper

following the White Blaze.

Done for the season

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Rolling to Big Sur


“Rolling to Big Sur” is a conglomeration of images from driving the Pacific Coast Highway, hiking Big Sur, many, many years as an endurance athlete, and a picture given to me by a sporting goods store owner.

Rolling to Big Sur


beyond trashed beaches and splintered piers, past windmills and castles, the two-lane road rolls on and on…


snakes between mountains and waters into the horizon, and on the other side of the mountains and waters rolls on and on; miles of grapes plump as plums in perfectly aligned rows are hidden by mountains; obscured by the lip of a cliff, sea lions the size of tree trunks lie at the edge of the waters barking.


this road is not meant for speed.


with 21 miles in the books, kevin’s calves feel as though they’d been injected with napalm. kevin waits for his calves to explode while Martinez plays Titles on the piano 200′ above crashing surf.*


a diamond-shaped sign, an expanse, a sudden drop into the sea. kevin squints at flecks on the water.


it is impossible to smell eucalyptus and monterery pine at 60 mph, even at 30 mph in a convertible, or to distinguish the scent of silver lupine from checker bloom living among the expanse of sea grass.


flecks in the blue-green water are surfers bobbing on white-caps like corks in a bathtub with a two-year-old.


the diamond-shaped sign is painted yellow; in black letters it reads To Hell and Back.


                  jim brennan

  • Pianist Michael Martinez plays the grand piano each year at mile 13.1 of the Big Sur International Marathon.

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“… climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” John Muir


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