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, 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.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Poetry: Wild Rhubarb

 

Wild Rhubarb

A kiss studied
is so much more beautiful
than a kiss performed.

It gives nothing away.

When I kiss my wife,
I should remember it.
It never was meant to be
a handshake. And why do
we kiss to say goodbye?

These goodbyes lasting,
stretching, crowding the horizon.

A sound is burned but a kiss is alive.
Alive like a moose scarfing wild rhubarb.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Poetry: Earthenware

 

Earthenware

She looked at me
with curving, symmetrical
arches, and I knew right away
that souls abhor an untimely silence.

Somewhere, somewhere,
the specter of a daffodil blooms
in a radiograph. And somewhere,
somewhere, I wonder if
everything needs to be seen after all.

Yet when she looked at me, I felt
pale all over. Like uncooked chicken,
or a freshly sliced shallot, I felt the fresh
undifferentiated sameness of my mind.

A reflection under construction. Both rare
and dangerous. A meteorite falling
in North Wales or a cluster of nebulae in Hydra.

Isn’t this infinite region of emptiness fulfilling?
This vital break with the vicissitudes of life-
as they are slowly cooked in small earthenware dishes.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Poetry: Ordinary Like Our Sun

 

Ordinary Like Our Sun

There are many kinds of deserts,
but they all reject the notion that life
should flourish. That’s gravity.

A grim background disturbing the atmosphere.

But it can’t make you fall in love, or at least that’s
what Einstein said. With an exquisite fussiness,

it intones mystical equations
and leaks blood in -alabaster basins.

Gravity is a creature of two nights; it feels a certain kind
of anxiety in the litany, so it shakes the earth from the flesh,
as if the beast itself might sabotage the magic trick.

Like jumbled chunks of sea ice, always creating dead ends,
it is becalmed in an ocean of sand, or bread slathered with honey.

That’s gravity.

An oracle of falsehood always driven by the illumination
of alternative futures. It soaks in the nectar-laden flowers
waking to the touch, a fragile fiberglass skin. Ordinary like our sun.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Poetry: When I Look Up

 

When I Look Up

When I look up
I see the quiet survival
of the solar system.

I see the outbursts of
constellations and
the disturbing meaning
of the Milky Way.

When I look up
I see the penetration of the
corona, a universe of stars,
the way Galileo saw it,

all ionized and catastrophic.