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.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Poetry: Leaf Pile

Leaf Pile

Oh, how good it is to play.

Dumping the bones on a gentle slope
planted in tinted violet, pale pink to rose,
candy corn yellow leaves, as parents stand
by armed with rakes and shovels, observing
with their crotchety independence how good
it must be to be a child again. To be free again,
to see a December sunset cast its ochre-brown,
saddle-shaped, conspicuously veined light,
eyelash like thin, over the gelatinous flesh of a
family’s front yard. Siblings sunken in soil, that
rich manured soil, soon to become melting snow
banks, scattered on rich, brain-shaped humus.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Poetry: We Need the Soil

We Need the Soil

each contagious morning
the cherished dew of midnight’s tears

those empty diamond-shaped faces
containing the dreams of elderflowers

because she fills earth’s basket with the black
resinous warmth of grandmother’s hands

breaking the ruby white stalks
of rhubarb and celery, reenacting

the wild and mischievous
rhythms of eternity

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Poetry: A Child With You

 

A Child With You

Like smudge
marks from
burnt sage

You arrived
at the moment I
needed to touch your

Golden hair
and peach
white belly

Rolling in the mud
by the oak trees

I am
a child with you

Oshkosh B’gosh
overalls and eyelashes

raised like
prayer flags

at the one act of mercy,
we all know
never happens

the way it
is supposed to

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Poetry: Deer Sleep

Deer Sleep

My three-year-old son
wondered where deer sleep,
so I walked him there. Stepping
into a realm that is not reserved
for fathers and sons, we found
a ritual that has nothing to do
with us. That lost part of the brain
where the Moon barely creeps in.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Poetry: Littered With Salvation

Littered With Salvation

A flask-shaped bald head
olive-black eyes. Short chestnut
brown eyebrows. Oshkosh B’gosh
overalls and an ultraviolet purple
sleeved shirt. Like small dolls
patched with the materials of a day’s harvest
sinking into the earth
into a wormhole of foliage, laughing at nothing
but the act of knowing that sometimes it’s common
and good to laugh at nothing. We played
unconcealed. Outside. Submerged in
winding branches and brittle, lifeless leaves
laying on a basket filled with the fluorescence of eggs.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Poetry: Caught Between the Hours

Caught Between the Hours

Have you looked up
at the stars lately?

Have you watched the Moon bow
or gulp light from her holy grail?

Have you howled at her?
The sky mother. Oozing

through the gate, a vaporous,
sweet olive black night

in the distance, a coyote yelping


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Poetry: Self-Portrait as a Wolf (For Donald Hall)

Self-Portrait as a Wolf
(For Donald Hall)

Once I served
my species proudly

by eating the
sickness of prey.

Now, driven from
the Adirondacks

I am the one
endangered. Spotted.

My sharp muzzle
sprinkled with dense,

black yellowish-white
underfur

turned into pelts
for unborn bones

on Christmas eve.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Poetry: Homesick

Homesick

Too far from
pan-fried walleyed pike

and those sultry June nights
when we stoked the coals

as darkness
fell on top

the manic appeal
of loons.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


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.



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