New Jersey

at Ben Franklin bridge’s height

one can see halfway across New Jersey

a land so flat and so green

it almost looks like paradise

and although salvation

lies far beyond this state

it’s good to feel that way

every now and then

to feel at the height

of a bridge to see the scattered

skeletons of Camden skyscrapers

to know beyond are farms and pines

suburban colonies

graphed developments

at first with natural names

Collingswood, Haddonfield, Cherry Hill

then unnatural names, townships

called by the names of colonizers

villages bearing names of lost tribes

exterminated people still roam

the barren pines, while cars collide

on highways stretched over unmarked graves

until finally the Atlantic Ocean arrives

a massive highway itself, littered with bones

of humans in chains, of slaves, of migrants

an inferno of water crushing bodies

centuries in transit

on the way to hell in life

en route to paradise in death

wherever that may be

Open to Submissions

I started a new poetry journal that’s open to submissions.

Outcast Poetry: Open to Submissions

Song of Eire

The low water of the Liffey
runs through my mind.
The high cry of the flute
sings in my heart.

I stand at the cliff
and look across
the wide Atlantic
to see a steel monolith rise.

The depths of the ocean
can no longer conceal
the pain that I carry
in knowing past and future loss.

I sit by the crystal Shannon
and feel the wildflowers
break beneath my weight
to become a bushel of waste.

The low water of the Liffey
runs through my mind.
The high cry of the flute
sings in my heart.

The lush fields once crossed
by the free Finn McCool
and his band of poet-warriors
have been crushed by machines.

The old woman of Ireland
calls me home to fight for liberty,
but her sons reject me, a mere American,
and I comply to colony life.

I fly back to New York
with a hole in my chest
longing for the identity
of my starving ancestors.

The low water of the Liffey
runs through my mind.
The high cry of the flute
sings in my heart.


the day after
mother’s death
I find myself cringe
at any noise similar
to a painful moan
a sigh, a laugh,
a seagull’s cry-
all strike a chord
deep within
my tangled heartstrings twang
out of tune and longing
for the perfect pitch
of the past

Obituary for Joanne Lynch of Philadelphia, PA

My mom was happy to see the Pope when he came to Philadelphia.

Joanne Lynch died Thursday, April 27th, 2017, at her home in Wildwood Crest, NJ. Born to William and Joan Shefski on July 17th, 1957, in Philadelphia, PA, Joanne is survived by her mother, her husband Walter, her brothers William, Daniel, and Patrick, her sisters Barbara Anne, Dianne, Suzanne, and Peggy Anne, her children Katherine, Matthew, Megan, and Sean, her grandchildren Rosie, Olivia, and Ronan, as well as numerous other family members. Joanne has been battling Ovarian cancer since she was diagnosed in February of 2016. She celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary with her husband and family in October of 2016. Joanne was a dedicated member of her parish, Notre Dame de la Mer, in Wildwood, NJ, and found joy in teaching CCD classes and committing herself to other charitable work. A hard worker until her sudden diagnosis with stage four cancer, Joanne’s last job was as a server at Aleathea’s Restaurant in Cape May, NJ. 

Above all, Joanne was a devoted mother who sacrificed her time and energy to help provide for her family through phases of financial and emotional hardships. Joanne passionately cared for her family, and was never afraid of making her opinion known, especially with her husband. Inheriting her mother Joan’s strong will, Joanne had the ability to seem contentious even if she agreed with you on the subject at hand. Joanne’s love for baseball and football stemmed from her late father, William Shefski, who was a sports writer for the Philadelphia Daily News.

Joanne graduated from Haddon Township High School in 1975. Her favorite classes were Russian and English. Even though Joanne did not attend college, she was intelligent and very knowledgeable on a vast range of subjects, especially religion, politics, literature, art, fashion, and design. Joanne was immensely proud of her Irish heritage, and delighted in learning about Irish culture, loved reading Irish literature, listening to Irish music, and watching Irish dancing. 

Joanne worked countless jobs, including as a server, shoe salesperson, and furniture salesperson, however, she especially loved working at Aleathea’s Restaurant because of her co-workers and the environment. Aleathea’s is a beautiful Victorian Inn right by the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May, and since Joanne’s favorite past time was sunbathing on the beach, it was the perfect place to work for her. Joanne’s other favorite activities included reading, watching sports, and praying. 

Joanne was a fantastic salesperson and server, but her best role was as a homemaker. One could often find Joanne singing Feist, Sting, or U2 while cleaning the kitchen. As a mother, Joanne invested all of her hopes and dreams into her children. Her strong Catholic faith was her guidance. 

A private viewing will be held for close friends and family at Assumption Church Monday at 9am. The funeral service will be held at Assumption Church in Wildwood Crest on Monday at 10am. After the funeral, attendees are invited to gather at Aleathea’s Restaurant in Cape May. Interment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Love of Linda Cancer Fund, PO Box 1053, Wildwood, NJ, 08260. 

My mother and father at the Irish Famine Memorial at Battery Park in NYC.