Time and Touch


Hot tea soothed my soul
as I pondered the extent
to which we love one
another.

As I thought of our love I
became aware of why it is
so hard to understand the
magnitude of it.

It is because our love for
one another is not bound
by the limits of time and
touch or soul and space.

New book: “Volume 1: Shift Key” published!


I’m happy to announce that “Volume 1: Shift Key” has been published by CreateSpace and is now available on Amazon in paperback (and for Kindle). It has over 300 pages of poetry, haiku, and commentary from 2012 through the end of 2016 that I wrote here on WordPress. If you feel so inclined, buy a copy to read at your leisure. Here is the link: Vol 1: Shift Key on Amazon.

And don’t forget that my earlier poetry book, “The Boy in the Mirror,” is also available on Amazon in paperback (and for Kindle), full of original poetry that I wrote from about 1970 to 2011. (Only in book form; not on my blog.) This poetry collection was described as follows:

“Alan L. Slaff’s poems read like tiny stories, and his ultra-descriptive images transport readers to the scene and inside his thoughts. His collection of poems causes the heart to fill with empathy and the soul to connect with a kindred spirit. This rich journey includes poems Slaff wrote from 1970 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2011 for this expanded 2nd edition.

From his father’s distant nature to the laughter of children in the streets of Vietnam, The Boy in the Mirror covers the entirety of Slaff’s experiences, whether agonizing or ecstatic. In telling, through verse, of his feelings and thoughts, he highlights the emotions and needs of all people in both mundane life and in the deepest places of the soul.

Whether the reader follows his poems to a diner, where a lemon served with tea becomes a connection to customers with a life he envies, or to the unbearable flashbacks of sexual abuse that he describes in the title piece, Slaff conveys his feelings in a fiery, affecting manner.

Shorter works include ideas that punch through in creative terms, and his longer poems offer narrative-style takes on divorce, passion, death and the purpose of living. Slaff creatively ties normal routines with life-changing events.

A childhood of dysfunction, assignments abroad that taught many lessons, and terrible heartbreaks that left everlasting marks all contribute to the impact of this remarkable work.”

Being in Ten Haiku


I’ve decided that
being pensive is a plus
not a minus and

melancholy is
a strength not a weakness so
you’ll have to love me

as I am and not
for who I am not or who
I will never be

not for what I did
or didn’t do or what I
dream to do or do

not want to do can’t
do I’m getting better at
being than I am

at doing wanting
or going I’m more content
with who I am than

who I was and more
content with where I am than
where I thought I would

be so dreams may come
and go but all is well is
not a myth or a

wish you see all is
well is a state of mind
and heart it isn’t

how I feel or an
issue of circumstance
it is who I am

Odds and Ends No. 1


There is something sensual about steam
rising from a cup of black coffee. The color
of my mood today or let’s just say somber.

Yesterday was the first day of the new year.
Too bad. It didn’t go well. Not by my design.
I thought I’d journal about last week’s EMDR

revelations into last year’s journal so I could
leave them there and not bring them forward.
Not so. As I recounted the results of the previous

session, the film in my head didn’t stop there.
New ground. New player. New abuse revealed
from when I was eight or ten. Doesn’t matter.

It was so shocking to me, I couldn’t leave it
there; I had to put it on the first fresh white
virgin page of the new year. I stained it with

the new blood of abuse until now unknown,
unrevealed, unprocessed. Hard to believe;
hard to imagine. Blindsided by surprise pain

on the first day of the new year. Journal ruined
from the get go. I felt ruined. Violated by a loved
one and the sickness of abuse in another form.

Black coffee is penance for what? I didn’t want
this; I didn’t do anything to deserve abuse. No
one deserves abuse; especially a child who is

powerless over abuse. I couldn’t drink another
sip of what I thought was going to be part of the
new me this year. Folly, pure folly on my part.

The coffee maker had turned off. I poured what
was left into my mug, just rinsed. The dark
residue in the cup matched the residue in

my soul. I nuked it for thirty seconds. Added
three sugars and half-and-half to the top and
returned here to bring this to a close.

It looks like this is my start for the new year.
Odds and ends of my mind, heart, and soul
spilling over here. Pain has to go somewhere.

It has to get out. Even joy has to go somewhere.
For me, EMDR is the somehow, so healing and
restoration can triumph in the new year.

So God will be triumphant in me this new year.
No matter what has come before. No matter what
is to come. I get to live another triumphant year.

Espresso black, of course. Coffee or tea, milky
and sweet was me, is me, will be me. God will
bless me no matter how I take coffee or tea;

regardless of the slings and arrows of abuse.

Mostly Minutiae No. 17


It is late and the page is blank, but
my mind is far from blank. It is just
that I can’t write about it.

If I think about it, my thoughts turn
dark. I don’t want to go there
anymore. It will end soon.

Better that I write about coffee.
Saturday. We had Joe. Mild,
milky, and sweet for me. A cup
of coffee shouldn’t sound sexual,
but it has been a raw week and
a raw day. I’m feeling raw.

Probably the EMDR. I had a sense
of loss over the years, but the loss
was greater than that I knew.

(Poor kid. We are doing the best
we can.)

Not sure why but as I got out of
bed, I said, “Oatmeal.” I decided
on oatmeal this morning. Another
poor decision. Coffee was good.

Oatmeal threw my whole day
off. It was massage day. Helped.
But I feel like a record playing at
the wrong speed. My mind is at
thirty-three and a third. Slower.

If I’m cutting back on salt, why
did I make a hard salami sandwich
for lunch? I cut up four radishes on
the side. Juicy, not hot. Dijon and
provolone. Read my Michener book.

I needed tea. Hot tea. I was chilled.
Taylor’s English Breakfast did the
trick. Again, milky and sweet for me.

(I’m spent.)

I have to end here without a real end.
Like I said, everything is raw, so raw.
Abuse cheated me of everything.

This came to mind, what God said
through his prophet Joel: “So I will
restore to you the years that the
swarming locust has eaten…”

There is hope in every dark place.
Only God can restore my soul.