We live in a world that so often ignores the power of human expression and human connection. Technology and social media have clearly impaired the power of the written word and its expanse to touch the depth of our human hearts. This Poetry Anthology is a powerful human expression of the human Spirit’s ability to endure all of life’s challenges and still remain strong.

This poetic anthology gives voice to the cries of every human heart that longs to be acknowledged. The voices that follow will touch your heart with depth and soul. These powerful voices tell the story of a group of young men that at one point had lost their way but have found their way home.

These voices will challenge you to open your hearts to diversity and difference but always reminding us of the importance of the human connection and how we all belong to each other.

May the pages of this poetic anthology open your hearts to see the world differently with eyes of compassion and empathy and may it invite you to add your voice to the cry for freedom, justice and respect for all.

Fr. Francis Pizzarelli, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW
CEO/Founder Hope House Ministries, Port Jefferson, New York

Reprinted with permission from Disciples of Ink: Society of Writers Volume I, 2018
Local Gems Press

The Things We Did

The things we did
The things we did to further our agenda
The things we did to further our agenda were unconscionable

But we did them anyway
But we did them anyway with no regard
But we did them anyway with no regard to those around us

And the price
And the price they paid
And the price they paid for our actions

We destroyed
We destroyed lives without ever stopping
We destroyed lives without ever stopping to see whom we were affecting

The things we did

David Conklin

I’m Dave Conklin. I am 36 from East Islip. I’ve been writing since I was 14. When I was younger writing gave me an outlet for the standard teenage angst. As I’ve grown and my writing progressed it has given me the chance to express myself and work through some of my own more personal issues. What once began as a fun diversion when there was nothing else to do has now become a part of who I am.

Reprinted with permission from Disciples of Ink: Society of Writers Volume I, 2018
Local Gems Press

I Still See It In Your Eyes

They were all so excited
When I walked through the door
This year’s greatest surprise
I saw it in their eyes

Eyes filled with tears
Faces full of joy
When the front door opened up
And they saw their little boy

But I saw it in their eyes again
That old familiar stare
Fear wrapped in happiness
Will this be his last year there?

All of their hugs and kisses
Let me know they miss me
But their eyes tell me the story
Of what their only wish is

They’ve prayed for me to get sober
For the last 15 years
But in those eyes I see
A wish that’s trumped by fear

I have given them great presents
To hide my guilt, shame and fear
But all they’ve ever wanted for Christmas
Is my safe return next year

Stephen Hernandez

I listed to God, and leaned on my brothers that I still live with today. I am now 15 months sober because I listened. I listened to the men I live with, the counselors that help me, the staff who work with me, my family, the beautiful people in Alcoholics Anonymous and most of all God. Just by listening, I now have the most amazing life today, a life beyond my wildest dreams. I am back in college finishing my masters, surfing, working on my issues, giving back to my community, being a dependable family member and most of all I am happy for real because I can accept who I am today. I owe it to God and all the people who have helped me along the way. I am truly a happy man again because I am free!

Reprinted with permission from Disciples of Ink: Society of Writers Volume I, 2018
Local Gems Press


-I told a grown man not to cry
-Imagine consoling someone because his father’s about to die
-They never got along together
-He grew up in an abusive home
-And in all my foolish wisdom I told him
-Be prepared to let him go
-My father’s a religious man
-He instilled the fear of God in me
-And like a spear into his side Jesus Christ straightened his spine under the old man’s feet

-He used my shoulder to lean on
-His crooked back bone bent by the pressure put on him all along
-His uncertainty blinded by his faith
-His father’s disappointment crushed his back
-And all I could do was tell him to
-Give the weight to God who’s got his back
-My father’s a loving man
-He instilled love in my heart
-And as my good friend’s father passed he cried
-Why does God take who we love from our arms

-On his death bed before he passed out
-He confided in me that
-All his hard work and success was to make his father proud
-And without his father’s acceptance
-Of the great man that my friend has become
-He cried to God and asked him
-Why his father never showed him love
-My father was a righteous man
-He instilled freedom in my soul
-So I told him
-Sometimes God gives his strongest soldiers the hardest battles to help us grow

-I told my friend that all will be revealed when you meet on the other side
-I told him
-He doesn’t need anyone’s approval
-And that he should continue to work hard
-Because success is really raising your children to love with bigger hearts —

Mitchell Langsam

Mitch Langsam is an accomplished musician and songwriter. He plays guitar and piano, and sings in multiple bands of various genres. Having a natural affinity with the arts, poetry is also one of his passions. He currently lives in Masssapequa with his family and is an accountant.

Reprinted with permission from Disciples of Ink: Society of Writers Volume I, 2018
Local Gems Press

Roots of Redemption

Release me from your grip
I can’t breathe
I’m struggling to make sense of something I don’t understand
My chest trembles and quakes
The aftershock of a sudden sting stays steady underneath my skin
I’m being buried alive
My thoughts are like quicksand
The more that I resist and the harder I fight
The deeper down I go
I’m up to my neck
I’m in over my head
This is crazy
What happened to the blue skies?
But the suffering I’ve survived
Brought forth weakness that made me strong
Imperfections of my effort was made perfect in my willingness to try
The fault in my star still shines bright above the moon
Tears of sadness and sorrow, joy and pain rain down watering
the roots of my redemption
The fruit of my spirit is ripe with passion
The tree of life embedded in my soul
I bleed the same color you do
We both just got different scars.
Battle wounds of a war un-won
A fight left unfinished
My white flag means victory
Surrender is my definition of love
My enemy is myself
Forgiveness is my fortress
Leave the past in the past
The future belongs to me
And what’s mine is yours
There’s plenty of room at my table.

Jeff Rogers

I am 33 years old from Rocky Point and I started writing poetry last year in an effort to step out of my comfort zone and to take what was in my head and put it to paper. I quickly learned the therapeutic value of the pen and was amazed how the truth of my heart soon poured out to reveal a man I had not recognized in years. Surprise awaited me at every turn and with every stroke never knowing where each word would take me next as I dove into the depths of my soul. For most of my life, I was at war emotionally, mentally, and spiritually but when I picked up writing as a hobby, I immediately found me passion and my solace. I was able to take refuge in my words as the ink spilled out unmasking a man I never knew was inside me. This past year has been a journey of self-discovery and contemplation of the divine and much of my poetry reflects that. I can only hope that my words bring you a sense of comfort as much as it has me and maybe inspire those who seek similar truths within themselves. May you always follow your heart and find the voice of sincerity that lies deep down.

Reprinted with permission from:

Reprinted with permission from Disciples of Ink: Society of Writers Volume I, 2018
Local Gems Press

Reading Lust Soul

To all of those who enjoy the passion of wisdom.
Or seek knowledge from a book withing.
Desire to gain the graceful ways,
of converting imagination to a reality:

We seek answers in pages and letters.
Hieroglyphic Scripts or Ancient textbooks.
We absorb what we read and do what we are told.
But we never question the authors mistakes,
But always question our own written purpose.

Reading Lust Soul
Natural born treasure we all have,
But never open up our own chest.
We read books to seek life’s treasures,
Or fill in that missing void.
But we never open up our hearts to read our own souls.

Past the author, he had untold stories.
Beyond the stories he never got to know his soul.
Furthermore, the soul never got the potential to rise.
Reading Lust Soul.

Luis Valdes

Luis Valdes believes that he was born with a purpose, that purpose being a light out of the dark tunnel that many people cannot find their own way out of. At 26 years old, he has overcome a lifetime’s worth of obstacles. Currently he hosts a creative writing workshop and works with drug addicts and convicts to express themselves in the arts of storytelling and performing spoken word.

Reprinted with permission from Disciples of Ink: Society of Writers Volume I, 2018
Local Gems Press