Almanack Contributor George Cassidy Payne

George Cassidy Payne

George Cassidy Payne is an independent writer, domestic violence counselor, and adjunct instructor in the humanities at Finger Lakes Community College.

George's blogs, essays, letters, poems, and photographs have been published in a wide variety of national and international outlets such as USA Today, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Buffalo News, Albany Times-Union, Syracuse Post Standard, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, The Toronto Star, The Minority Reporter, Chronogram Journal, Ovi Magazine, CounterPunch, Moria Poetry Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and more.

George's first book of poetry, A Time Before Teachers, is available at Amazon.com.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Poetry: Deer and Heron

Deer and Heron

I am in his power.
He flys away. Seconds
passed before he looked
at me. Before he decided
I could not be trusted.

Ashamed of everything
in his world, I look at the
deer in the same way,
only minutes before
it sprinted
into, what was for me a sad
and delirious neighborhood.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Poetry: Sermon in Your Stones (For John Burroughs)

 

Sermon in Your Stones
(For John Burroughs)

I began to sense that I was saved
when I gazed at my reflection like a
river otter studies its own teeth;
or how a nine month old falls asleep, head first
into her own lap.

Without judgement, I began to sense it.
Looking down I thought that I heard
sermons in your stones. An intelligent, loving,
laughter-inducing possibility that I was never lost
to begin with.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Poetry: Self-Portrait as an Eagle

Eagle nest by George Cassidy PayneSelf-Portrait as an Eagle

Hatched 30 minutes earlier
than the day before, I am placed
between a hot-water pad and a towel
to dry. Pecking an air hole in my shell
and beginning the ordeal, as the warm
air feels like Tegaderm on my beak.

Eight hours after hatching, I eat my
first meal-bits of lean quail raised
on my uncle’s farm. Feeding from a
puppet as to avoid being mistaken
by humans; in a week or so I will
see what it means to be wild again.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.

Photo of Eagle nest by George Cassidy Payne


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Poetry: Petting Zoo

Petting Zoo

I still have this picture of myself
when I was 7 months or so in a
fold-out camping chair at a petting
zoo somewhere in the Adirondacks.

I’m touching the snout of a ram.

And judging by the look in my eye, I
would have turned down knighthood
just to grasp a few strands of his wool.

Strapped in. Two creatures sent along
different neural pathways but attuned.

Locked in the symmetry of boundaries held
in place by a universal grammar of touch.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Poetry: Remote Viewing the Five Ponds Wilderness

Remote Viewing the Five Ponds Wilderness

Just like smelling pheromones in the armpits,
there has always been evidence, the human
system knowing the future. A series of arbitrary
numbers.

Walking out into the unknown depths, we can’t
think of these things as being separate. Like Thoreau
said, “the old upon the walls…”

There are no bodies without energy, and there is no
energy without consciousness. Awareness enhanced,
activated senses, the other things appearing even we
are not supposed to.

Heralded by the rain. Clutching a clump of fur in our
talons. Just insect-eaters feeding in fissures and furrows
on the bark of Weymouth pine.

Yet made from a spiritual sinew and holy rocks from the shells
of angels.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Poetry: Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag

Such a supple anomaly, to lay
inside a
sleeping bag. The carcasses
from roads could not have it
better. Attuned to abeyance,
rolled up like a napkin in a
French bistro, and zoned out to
the blithe, unconditioned air
measuring the exhalations of
a fly caving with the rain that only
falls during childbirth. In a word,
assuaged.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Poetry: What Carries No Weight

What Carries No Weight

Miltonia orchids swaying
the way planets orbit
and the Moon
shining on the spine of
Whiteface Mountain.

Clothed in briny ash,
Black Willow and Douglas fir.

The Mourning Warbler’s
song, when the sun is nearly held,
in the soft spot of the palm,
weightless like
a grenade exploding.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Poetry: Where Deer Sleep

Where Deer Sleep

That place where the Moon
goes from whole to slithered,
bites of dust, smiles of yellow
rock, strange toenail shapes amidst
a royal navy blue canvas of stars,
growing dimmer the closer they are.

Just hidden enough to be found in
the bushes, sea urchin green, springing
up as coverage for all the earthlings which
do not sleep

In front of a thousand oaks, a family of
Whitetail Deer, each resting on a
pod of grass indented like the forehead of
an infant. There is a nakedness to this ritual,
a non-terrestriality, signs of the Creator’s indivisibility.

A place where deer sleep. Beside the specter
of daffodils blooming in untimely silences, made of
atoms, bones held by the same basic power source
of gravitational waves that only deer listen to.

Wrapped together for some reason, around the Sun, stretching
out into space, atomic reactions to the night. From sunrise to
sunset, turning away from the hours traveling across the sky.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Poetry: A Definition in Mind

A Definition in Mind

It emerges as fungi on
birch logs. Quiet. The mind
is what can exist if we are
not afraid to let it grow. Alone.
Softer than ivory and clear as
a gathering storm. Its dark energy
is all around us. In the dying embers
of secret traditions, it knows the
promises that had to be broken.


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Poetry: Cigarette by the Campfire

 

Cigarette by the Campfire

Scanning the caramel darkness, like
a frantic panther, my cool, thick,
blossoming honey words-rise off
my face, lunging off your fingers
into the ashes, a spiritual experience
scattered into the outlines of mountains.

Yet when you flick off the universe,
I can almost see the anguished edges,
and as you hugged me, I could feel again.

Taking the first drag…

If not for that cigarette, I feared one without you,

Programmed into a phone without reception,
soft as the look of dampened embers disappearing

into a lonely campfire, so petite and luminous,
all covered in the holy, appearing out of the ashen slush.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Poetry: Do Not Google It

Do not Google it

Accept that it
slumbers over
silky nets
of sword ferns.

When daybreak
shines on them you
will know without asking.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Poetry: Tracks

I know these tracks
in my tendons.
I know this forest.

How it pounds
into the shale, like a
crumbling ravine of snow
the color of mink fur.

I know this forest. Its wisdom
returns to me from vanished
glaciers, and I hear the sleep of
beasts in tombs of rotting Hemlock.

I know that I am not alone, but
these embers of tradition
cannot be shared.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Poetry: I Know This Forest

There is a forest that
I can’t get away from.
A forest of tombs still
as tree trunks. There
is a forest. The smell
of red pine needles-
the pathways of my
ancestors. There is
a forest. When I am
not alive like I usually
am. There is a forest.
When I step in mink
tracks, I know these
tracks in my tendons.
I know this forest. It
pounds into the shale,
like a crumbling ravine
of hunger. I know this
forest. Returning from
vanished glaciers. A
ghost in the temperature.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Poetry: Independence River

There is a forest that I return to
when I can’t get away from the pulsations
of thinking. A forest of tombs as still
as dead tree trunks and melodious as raindrops
on red pine needles. The paths of my ancestors.

In this forest, I am not alive like I usually am.
Stepping in mink tracks, I know this place in
my tendons like a ghost knows the temperature of
fog. Here, the Independence River runs like a lovely
ribbon until it pounds into a ravine of crumbling shale.

And I know that old hunger returning from vanished glaciers.

In this forest, my arms, as I meander, wave like prayer flags
hung out to the ragged border between life and death- a place
where I can survive outside the womb. A place where I can
become a wilderness dancer touching the mud softer than ivory.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Poetry: The Strand Theater

 

The Strand Theater of Old Forge

Rising from the bottom of an
unfillable sink of inside space,
the Strand Theater is a Mondrian;
its meanings come rushing over
hazy filters of digital luminescence:
a cosmology of sound and light,
blasting gigantic sweeping images,
like felled hemlocks on a forest floor.